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Keolis names new GM, deputy GM for MBTA commuter-rail service

Keolis officials yesterday announced a shakeup of the leadership team at Keolis Commuter Services unit in Boston, the contractor for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) commuter-rail network since July 2014.

Thomas Mulligan, the general manager of the Keolis unit, stepped down this week "for personal reasons" and is being replaced by Gerald Francis. The company also named Franck Dubourdieu deputy general manager.

The leadership changes came before a meeting planned for yesterday between Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Keolis officials, Boston area news media reported. Baker has been highly critical of MBTA's commuter-rail and subway service in recent weeks.

"The governor has made clear to Keolis that their lack of performance is unacceptable, has directed significant resources to assist in their recovery and looks forward to checking in on their progress," Baker spokesman Billy Pitman said in a news report.

It's been a very challenging time for the commuter-rail system, passengers and Keolis team since the parties haven't been able to provide the quality of service people in the region "have a right to demand," said Eric Asselin, executive vice president and general manager of Keolis North America, in a press release.

"With Gerald and Franck in these new roles, I am confident that we will soon have the commuter rail system operating as it should," he said.

Francis has served in executive leadership roles for major transit systems during his career, which began at Union Pacific Railroad. He came to Keolis from TASI-Caltrain, where he served as general manager for Herzog Transit Services. Prior to that, Francis was deputy general manager for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. He joined Keolis in January 2014 as deputy general manager.

Dubourdieu has more than 20 years of experience working on passenger railroads, including as commercial director for Eurostar, the high-speed train system that operates between Paris and London. He joined Keolis after working at SNCF, France's national railroad, where he most recently was deputy general manager for the South East Paris commuter-rail line.

The shakeup at Keolis follows MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott's decision earlier this month to resign, effective April 11. She announced her resignation after coming under fire for service issues on MBTA's subway service problems during recent snowstorms.

On Feb. 20, Baker announced he was forming a special panel of national leaders in transportation, economic development and municipal planning to perform a "diagnostic" review of the MBTA. The panel will analyze recent MBTA studies, review performance and examine the T's core functions and benchmark the results with other transit operations, according to a press release issued by Baker's office.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/27/2015