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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak taps former Delta CEO Anderson as railroad's next leader

Richard Anderson
Photo – Amtrak

Amtrak yesterday named former airline industry executive Richard Anderson as the national passenger railroad's next president and chief executive officer.

Anderson, who most recently was executive chairman of Delta Air Lines after serving as the airline's CEO from 2007 to 2016, will begin his new duties at Amtrak on July 12, Amtrak officials announced in a press release.

To ensure a smooth transition, Amtrak President and CEO Wick Moorman will serve as co-CEO with Anderson until Dec. 31. After that period, Moorman will continue to serve Amtrak in an advisory capacity, although those details are still being worked out, Moorman said in an interview.

Wick Moorman
Photo – Amtrak

Moorman joined Amtrak in September 2016 as a transitional CEO tasked with improving the railroad's operations, streamlining its organizational structure and helping to recruit his successor.

Prior to joining Amtrak, Moorman served Norfolk Southern Railway and its predecessor Southern Railway for more than 40 years, rising from management trainee to the company's top post. In 2006, he was named NS chairman, president and CEO.

Moorman described Anderson as 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," Moorman said. "He's a leader with the strategic vision and tactical experience necessary to run a railroad that benefits our customers, partners and stakeholders nationwide.”

Although Anderson doesn't have railroad experience, he has great experience in transportation, in understanding the customer experience and in running a major company, Moorman said.

Amtrak's board believes Anderson 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 Tony Coscia in a press release.

"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," Coscia said.

In a prepared statement, Anderson said he is looking forward to continuing the improvements that Moorman began at Amtrak.

"Amtrak is a great company today, and I'm excited about using my experience and working with the board to make it even better," he said. "I'm passionate about building strong businesses that create the best travel experience possible for customers."

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.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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