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Sound Transit CEO Earl to retire in early 2016

Sound Transit's board has begun a process to search for a new chief executive officer, following CEO Joni Earl's announcement that she will retire in 2016.

Sound Transit Chairman and King County Executive Dow Constantine has directed human resources staff to begin working with an executive search firm to help the board launch a national search for a new leader of the transit agency.

Earl has been on medical leave since April 2014. Sound Transit Deputy CEO Mike Harbour will continue to serve as acting CEO until the hiring process is completed, agency officials said in a press release.

Harbour does not intend to be a candidate for the permanent post. Before she retires in first-quarter 2016 following the opening of University Link light-rail extension, Earl will work in a limited capacity to help with the leadership transition.

"The Sound Transit Board and staff have tackled huge challenges and have successfully provided the first mass transit system in our region," Earl said in a prepared statement. "I am so proud of what they have done. It has been both a privilege and an honor to serve as CEO of Sound Transit. Now, as the agency prepares for Sound Transit 3, it is time to hand the reins over to the next staff leader."

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More News from 5/7/2015