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Wabtec taps Santana to succeed Betler as top exec

Rafael Santana
Photo – GE Transportation


Wabtec Corp. today announced Rafael Santana will become president and chief executive officer on July 1. He will succeed Ray Betler, who will retire as a Wabtec executive and board member, and join the company's board.
Santana, 47, joined Wabtec earlier this year as president and CEO of its freight segment following the merger of Wabtec and GE Transportation. He previously served as president and CEO of GE Transportation.

A Brazil native, Santana has 25 years of commercial, product management and executive leadership experience, including more than 10 years in the transportation industry. While leading GE Transportation, he significantly expanded the company's regional footprint, and built strong overhaul and modernization capabilities through multiyear programs, Wabtec officials said in a press release.

Santana previously was president and CEO of GE in Latin America, where he helped transform the market into one of GE’s largest and fastest-growing regions, and president and CEO of GE Oil & Gas' turbomachinery solutions business, they said.

"The selection of Rafael to succeed Ray is the culmination of a thorough CEO succession planning process that evaluated both internal and external candidates. Rafael is the right leader for this role — bringing to Wabtec a passion for operational excellence and technology, and a strong track record of growth and performance,” said Wabtec Executive Chairman Al Neupaver.

Betler began his career in 1979 as a design engineer with the former Westinghouse Transportation Division. In 1994, he was named president of the unit, which later became ADtranz and — currently — Bombardier Transportation. Belter joined Wabtec in 2008 and was named president and CEO in 2014.

"Ray's leadership over the last 11 years at Wabtec has been extraordinary. Since joining the company, he has been an integral part of Wabtec's growth story − increasing revenues five-fold, from $1.5 billion in 2008 to more than $8 billion in 2019," said Neupaver. "Ray also has been instrumental in reshaping our global footprint, strengthening our technology leadership position and diversifying our portfolio."

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