A former General Electric executive has been hired to head up the embattled Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Luis Manuel Ramirez was announced as the MBTA's new general manager and chief executive officer on Tuesday morning. He will take over for interim General Manager Steve Poftak on Sept. 12.
Ramirez, 50, has most recently run his own consulting firm. Prior to that, he served as a top executive at GE, Unisys Corporation and Siemens AG.
"From Day One, we were looking for a candidate with a solid track record of leading large and complex organizations through transformation and change," Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack said. "His unique personal background, deep exposure to a range of challenges and constituencies, and proven leadership skills make Luis the right person to lead the MBTA as it continues to become the world-class transit agency our riders expect and deserve. With the support he’ll have from the strong operational and other leadership already at the T, Luis will get up to speed very quickly."
Gov. Charlie Baker said Ramirez "has a proven skill-set that I am sure will serve him well as he joins the team working toward meaningful reforms for commuters and taxpayers."
Ramirez's contract runs for three years, with two, one-year mutual options to extend.
"I am excited about joining a great team at the T to build upon the progress they have already made," Ramirez said. "Going forward, we need financial discipline, we need operational excellence, and we also need strategy. But in everything we do, the overriding objective will be to put the customer first."
A spokesman for the largest union representing T workers issued a statement saying he is hopeful that Ramirez will provide the leadership the T needs to move forward.
"The MBTA has spent a lot of energy attacking its own employees, but if you ask riders if their experience is better, if their commutes are better, you will hear a resounding 'no,'" said Jimmy O'Brien, president of the Boston Carmen's Union. "If the Baker Administration is serious about improving the MBTA it needs to make real investments in the system’s infrastructure - vehicles of all types, signals, and tracks. The MBTA needs strong leadership and stability, with a General Manager who empowers rather than attacks the people that try to keep this aging system running every day."