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Rail News: Amtrak

Kummant to take reins as Amtrak's president and CEO


It took nearly 10 months, but Amtrak finally has recruited a new leader. Yesterday, the national intercity passenger railroad announced its board appointed Alexander Kummant president and chief executive officer. He will take office on Sept. 12.

Most recently executive vice president and chief marketing officer for construction equipment supplier Komatsu America Corp., Kummant takes over the top spot filled by former Chief Engineer David Hughes on an interim basis since November 2005, when Amtrak’s board fired then-President and CEO David Gunn.

Kummant previously served Union Pacific Railroad as regional VP and VP of premium operations, and was responsible for the Class I’s intermodal and automotive networks. He began his railroading career as a track crew member at the Lake Terminal Railroad.

“Kummant has the outstanding credentials and experience to lead a changing Amtrak that is more customer-focused and fiscally responsible,” said Amtrak Chairman David Laney in a prepared statement. “His appointment fulfills the board’s commitment to select an extraordinarily strong and capable leader for Amtrak’s future, building on the growing national desire for more and improved passenger rail service.”

Although Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is relieved the railroad finally has a new leader, the former Amtrak board member is disappointed it took nearly a year to recruit one, he said in a released statement.

“The Amtrak Board shouldn’t have waited so long to find David Gunn’s successor,” he said. “It is too important for Amtrak to have a leader who can provide vision and direction for the struggling railroad and its employees. Kummant has a big and important task ahead of him — to put the nation’s passenger railroad on course to meet the demands of the 21st century.”

Hughes will continue to serve Amtrak in a yet-to-be-determined capacity, the railroad said. Search firm Heidrick & Struggles Inc. helped Amtrak’s board during the recruitment phase.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/30/2006