WASHINGTON – Amtrak announced that it has named Richard Anderson, a 25-year veteran of the aviation industry and Galveston native, as its next president and chief executive officer. Anderson, former chief executive officer of both Delta and Northwest Airlines, will begin his role on July 12.
Anderson joins the passenger rail network provider at a time when the Trump Administration has announced that it wants to kill all Amtrak national network trains outside of the Northeast Corridor. That would mean no passenger train service to 220 towns and cities, many with few other transportation choices, if any. Abandonment of Amtrak service in Texas would affect 19 cities in Texas.
To ensure a smooth transition, Anderson will serve in a co-CEO capacity with current CEO Wick Moorman through Dec. 31, 2017, at which time Moorman will become an advisor to the company. Moorman joined Amtrak in September 2016 as a transitional CEO tasked with improving the company’s operations, streamlining the organizational structure, and helping recruit his successor.
“Richard 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,” said Amtrak Chairman of the Board Tony Coscia. “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.”
Anderson, 62, most recently was executive chairman of the Delta Air Lines board of directors after serving as the airline’s CEO from 2007 to 2016. He was executive vice president at United Healthcare from 2004 to 2007 and CEO of Northwest Airlines from 2001 to 2004, which later merged with Delta. Anderson also served in the legal division at Continental Airlines and was a former county prosecutor.
“It is an honor to join Amtrak at a time when passenger rail service is growing in importance in America. I look forward to working alongside Amtrak’s dedicated employees to continue the improvements begun by Wick,” said Anderson. “Amtrak is a great company today, and I’m excited about using my experience and working with the board to make it even better. I’m passionate about building strong businesses that create the best travel experience possible for customers.” While Anderson does not have any railroad operating experience he did come out of a railroad family. His father worked for the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.
“Richard is a best-in-class industry leader and isn’t afraid to face challenges head-on. He has helped companies navigate bankruptcy, a recession, mergers and acquisitions, and 9/11,” said Moorman. “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 earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Houston at Clear Lake City and a Juris Doctorate at South Texas College of Law.
Anderson was named Aviation Week’s Person of the Year in 2015. In 2014 he was recognized as one of the World’s Best CEOs by Barron’s magazine and was ranked among the Top 25 Most Influential Industry Executives by Business Travel News. In 2013, he was recognized in Fortune magazine’s Top People in Business list.
Current CEO Wick Moorman issued this statement to Amtrak employees today:
Fellow Amtrak employees,
When I agreed to join Amtrak last September, I made a promise to our Board of Directors and to my wife that I would be here for only a short period of time. And I started on Day One with three goals. First, I wanted to make the company more efficient. I believe the new organizational structure we announced in January will help us do that.
Next, I wanted to help develop a stronger safety culture. I believe our new “Safety Starts with Me” initiative and others will help raise our performance here.
And finally, I wanted to work with the Board to find the right executive to lead Amtrak over the long term. And we’ve found him.
I am pleased to announce that Richard Anderson will become our next president and CEO, effective July 12. To ensure a smooth transition, Richard will serve in a co-CEO capacity with me through Dec. 31, 2017, at which time I’ll step down from this role.
We are very fortunate to have someone of Richard’s caliber join Amtrak. Richard is a 25-year veteran of the transportation industry. As the former chief executive of both Delta and Northwest Airlines, Richard has a proven track record of driving growth while enhancing the customer experience. What I really admire about Richard is he faces difficult challenges head-on. He has helped companies navigate bankruptcy, a recession, mergers and acquisitions, and 9/11. In total, Richard is a leader with the strategic vision and tactical experience necessary to run a railroad that benefits our partners, our customers and our employees. He also comes from a Santa Fe Railway family, so he knows a thing or two about railroading.
Richard will also bring us senior leadership stability. He intends to stay with Amtrak into the foreseeable future as president and CEO. He and his wife Sue currently live in Texas, and they will be relocating to the Washington, D.C., area soon.
In the meantime, with his appointment in place, my focus this summer will be on welcoming Richard aboard and closely watching our work at New York Penn Station, where I will be very involved in making sure our infrastructure renewal project is completed safely and successfully. I want to tell you that leading the Amtrak team continues to be a great honor. I knew coming into the job that we had good people. As I recently told Richard, what he will find very quickly is that we have the best people.
Our future is incredibly bright. We are a good company that is in the process of taking steps to become great. And with Richard, we have exactly the right leader we need to take the next steps on that journey. We are in the business of moving people. And very soon, we’re going to be led by someone who is one of the all-time greats in this business.
Richard knows how to create a great customer experience and build customer loyalty, which is exactly what we need to grow our business.
He is also going to work with our entire team on making sure we become the safest and best-run railroad in the entire industry. I’m excited for what lies ahead for us.
Please join me in welcoming Richard to Amtrak. And thank you once again for all that you do for the company.