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Top, upper management on the move

From left: Jamie Boychuk, Chris Ceraso and Lesley Kandaras
Photo –


By Jeff Stagl, Managing Editor

A number of high-ranking executives in both the freight- and passenger-rail industries have recently left or arrived, or expect to do so soon.

Among the Class Is, Executive Vice President of Operations Jamie Boychuk departed from CSX, which he had joined in 2017. Boychuk had served other stints there as assistant VP of transportation support, VP of scheduled railroading and senior VP of network operations, mechanical, engineering and intermodal operations. He previously served CN for 20 years.

SVP of Transportation Ricky Johnson and SVP of Network Operations and Service Design Casey Albright now report to CSX President and CEO Joe Hinrichs while the railroad conducts an internal and external search for a new head of operations.

Editor's note: On Sept. 8, CSX announced it appointed long-time CN veteran Mike Cory EVP and COO. In addition, former EVP of Sales and Marketing Kevin Boon became EVP and chief commercial officer.

At Norfolk Southern Railway, Chris Ceraso will become VP of integrated resource planning — a newly established position — on Oct. 1.

He most recently served as executive director at JP Morgan Asset Management, where he was global sector leader of automotive research in the United States, Europe and Asia. Ceraso previously was a managing director at Credit Suisse, where he covered the automotive and transportation sectors.

NS also announced that VP Treasury and Investor Relations Chris Neikirk will retire next year. As part of a succession process, Ceraso will assume leadership of those functions in early 2024.

San Diego agency seeks new leader

In the passenger-rail sector, the North County Transit District (NCTD) announced the retirement of Executive Director Matthew Tucker, effective Sept. 1.

He led the San Diego-area district for nearly 15 years and is capping a more than 30-year career of public transit agency service.

During his tenure, Tucker helped implement a comprehensive financial, business and personnel plan that eliminated an $80 million deficit. He also established financial reserves and addressed long-term debts.

NCTD also appointed Paul Ballard as interim executive director, effective Aug. 28. He will serve an initial four-month term.

Ballard recently served in similar interim chief executive roles at Trinity Metro in Fort Worth, Texas, and at the Regional Transportation District in Denver.

A first in Minneapolis

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Council installed Lesley Kandaras as general manager of Metro Transit in Minneapolis. She is the first woman to fill the position, council officials said in a press release.

Kandaras previously served Metro Transit as an interim GM, senior manager of policy development and chief of staff. She began serving the council in 2012, working in the communications and government affairs departments.

At the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, a new contract was approved for CEO and General Manager India Birdsong Terry, who has led the agency since September 2019. The new contract expires Dec. 31, 2027.

In Canada, Martin Imbleau became the inaugural CEO of VIA High Frequency Rail (HFR)-VIA TGF Inc., effective Sept. 8. He most recently was the CEO of the Port of Montreal. Imbleau has extensive experience in energy transportation systems and major infrastructure projects.

The VIA HFR project calls for creating a sustainable train network that will run on mostly dedicated tracks at higher frequencies, speeds and reliability between Toronto and Quebec City.

Finally, Valley Metro in Phoenix installed Darren Curry as chief maintenance officer. He has more than 36 years of maintenance and transit experience.

Curry most recently was the assistant executive director of transit assets at Metro Transit-St. Louis, where he oversaw fleet maintenance, passenger facilities, bridges, tunnels, light-rail right of way and rail systems.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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