The nation's intercity passenger rail system reached into the aviation industry for its future leadership as Amtrak announced its board named former Delta and Northwest airlines CEO
Richard Anderson to serve as co-CEO with Amtrak's Wick Moorman until yearend and then take over the railroad's top job.
Amtrak said Anderson will begin that role July 12 and work the rest of the year with Moorman – who became CEO last September – "to ensure a smooth transition" to head the government-supported corporation.
The announcement said that Moorman had joined "as a transitional CEO, tasked with improving the company's operations, streamlining the organizational structure, and helping recruit his successor," and Moorman had said publicly last fall that he
did not plan to remain long at the helm of Amtrak.
Amtrak said that once Anderson assumes the full CEO role next January, Moorman – who previously headed eastern-U.S. freight rail giant Norfolk Southern – will become an adviser to the passenger railroad.
The announcement said Anderson was most recently executive chairman of the Delta Air Lines board of directors after serving as that airline's CEO from 2007 to 2016. Earlier, he was executive vice president at United Healthcare from 2004 to 2007 and CEO of Northwest Airlines from 2001 to 2004; Northwest went on to merge with Delta in 2008. He also worked in the legal division at Continental Airlines and was a former county prosecutor.
Moorman called Anderson "a best-in-class industry leader" who "isn't afraid to face challenges head-on. He has helped companies navigate bankruptcy, a recession, mergers and acquisitions, and 9/11. He's a leader with the strategic vision and tactical experience necessary to run a railroad that benefits our customers, partners and stakeholders nationwide."
Anderson said he is "passionate about building strong businesses that create the best travel experience possible for customers."
Amtrak Chairman Tony Coscia said that Anderson "brings to Amtrak his experience running one of the largest global commercial air carriers. The board believes he is the right leader at the right time to drive the quality of customer service that our passengers, partners and stakeholders expect and deserve while continuing our path towards operational and financial excellence."
He added: "The board also appreciates all that Wick continues to do to improve Amtrak's safety culture and strengthen our operating performance, including the important renewal work at New York Penn Station."
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