Amtrak Changes CEOs As White House Re-Nominates Some (Not All) Board Members

Amtrak Changes CEOs As White House Re-Nominates Some (Not All) Board Members

March 06, 2020  | Jeff Davis

Amtrak announced this week that President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson is stepping down, at the end of his three-year commitment to the passenger railroad. He will be replaced by William Flynn.

“Bill is the right executive to lead us into the future,” said Amtrak Board Chairman Tony Coscia. “We’ve never been stronger as a company than we are today. We are modernizing the customer experience and delivering our service to more people. Bill has a consistent track record of growing and improving complex transportation businesses. We are confident he will build upon the strong foundation of record-setting growth and improvement set by the Board, Richard and the entire Amtrak team.”

Under Anderson’s tenure, Amtrak has made operating costs its top priority, to the point that the elimination of net operating losses, while not yet achieved, actually seems possible in the near future.

Like Anderson, Flynn comes to the railroad immediately after being the CEO of an air carrier (Anderson was Delta Air Lines, Flynn was Atlas Air, a cargo and charter airline). However, while Anderson was an airline lifer (he joined Continental in 1987 and then went to Northwest from 1990-2004, then pivoted to a health care job, before going with Delta in 2007), Flynn actually had a railroad background before moving to aviation.

Flynn worked at CSX and its Sea-Land subsidiary from 1997 to 2002, culminating in being CSX Senior Vice President for Strategic Planning. Per a bio he submitted to the House T&I Committee for a hearing several years ago: “Mr. Flynn had a 23- year career at Sea-Land Service, and as Senior Vice President of Asia he was responsible for the company’s business in Asia including liner shipping, marine terminal management, logistics and joint ventures in terminal development in Hong Kong and China. He led the development of key joint ventures in Tianjin and in Shanghai port operations. Mr. Flynn had several overseas assignments including Venezuela, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Japan and Hong Kong.”

While Anderson served as Amtrak CEO as a public service (taking one dollar per year salary), the Wall Street Journal reported that Flynn will earn $475,000 per year.

Also, President Trump on March 2 re-nominated two of his proposed candidates for the Amtrak Board of Directors – Joseph Gruters and Lynn Westmoreland. Those nominees were originally made last year, and were approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, but a Senate rule forced them to be sent back to the White House at the expiration of the First Session of the 116th Congress at noon on January 3.

However, President Trump has not re-nominated his other two nominees for the Amtrak Board, Rick Dearborn and Todd Rokita. It is not at all clear if either man wants to be re-nominated, or if they somehow fell afoul of the ongoing loyalty tests being promulgated by the White House personnel office.

We have updated our list of Amtrak Board members accordingly. (By law, members of the Board can serve indefinitely after their fixed terms expire, until a successor is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.)

Current Members of the Amtrak Board of Directors
Member Tenure
Elaine Chao Ex officio as Secretary of Transportation
William Flynn Ex officio as Amtrak CEO (non-voting)
Christopher Beall Term expired Jan. 2018.
Yvonne Braithwaite Burke Term expired Jan. 2018.
Thomas C. Carper Term expired Aug. 2018.
Anthony Coscia Term expires Dec. 2020.
Albert DiClemente Nominee: Joseph Gruters
Jeffrey Moreland Term expired June 2015. Former nominee: Rick Dearborn
vacancy (was Derek Kan) Term expires Jan. 2021. Former nominee: Todd Rokita
vacancy Nominee: Lynn Westmoreland
Share

Related Articles

T&I Hearing Looks at Expanded Intercity Passenger Rail

T&I Hearing Looks at Expanded Intercity Passenger Rail

On Thursday, December 9, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee...

Op-Ed: Recognizing the Reasons for Railroad Deaths

Op-Ed: Recognizing the Reasons for Railroad Deaths

While we do not yet know the precise cause of the recent Amtrak derailment in Montana, the response was swift. The National Transportation...

Train derailments like the Montana incident are rare, but other railroad-related deaths are on the rise

Train derailments like the Montana incident are rare, but other railroad-related deaths are on the rise

“The response that we’re seeing to the Montana crash is showing that the existing standards that we have are in some respects working....

Safer Railroading: A Guide Toward Targeted Safety Policy

Safer Railroading: A Guide Toward Targeted Safety Policy

Railroads are among the safest modes of transportation for workers, riders, and the public. Strong federal standards for railroad track and...

Webinar: Safer Railroading: A Discussion About Targeted Safety Policy

Webinar: Safer Railroading: A Discussion About Targeted Safety Policy

This webinar discusses the findings from Eno's report: Safer Railroading: A Guide Toward Targeted Safety Policy. According to Eno's...

A big bet on Amtrak

A big bet on Amtrak

That's "way more than any other" transportation secretary has ever been given, said Jeff Davis of the Eno Center for...

The infrastructure bill is more about maintaining train service than upgrading it

The infrastructure bill is more about maintaining train service than upgrading it

"Amtrak was set up to fail," Robert Puentes, CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation told CNN Business. "It wasn't designed to last as...

10 things to know about the infrastructure bill

10 things to know about the infrastructure bill

The bill would borrow some $118 billion from general revenue to meet the needs of the nation’s highways, bringing the grand total of...

Infrastructure bill may give Buttigieg final say over $105 billion

Infrastructure bill may give Buttigieg final say over $105 billion

But a tally by Jeff Davis of the Eno Center for Transportation, an independent charitable foundation, shows the DOT would be the big...

NEC Commission Announces $117 Billion Corridor Improvement Plan

NEC Commission Announces $117 Billion Corridor Improvement Plan

The Northeast Corridor Commission, a federal advisory panel for the DC-to-Boston passenger and commuter rail system, announced a new...

Amtrak pushes 15-year plan to boost northeastern corridor

Amtrak pushes 15-year plan to boost northeastern corridor

Jeff Davis, Senior Fellow of the Eno Center for Transportation, said he hopes that many of the Commission’s initial projects will be...

Amtrak is a top travel choice in the Northeast. With an ally in the White House, it wants trains in the rest of America.

Amtrak is a top travel choice in the Northeast. With an ally in the White House, it wants trains in the rest of America.

Robert Puentes, president and chief executive of the nonprofit Eno Center for Transportation, cautioned that not all of Amtrak’s proposed...

Be Part of the Conversation
Sign up to receive news, events, publications, and course notifications.
No thanks