The Massachusetts Democratic Party is calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to rescind the hiring of Luis Ramirez, the former General Electric executive who was recently named as the MBTA’s new general manager.
Gus Bickford, chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said in a statement that he was responding to a report recently published by WBUR on Tuesday in which it was noted that a company previously run by Ramirez is currently facing bankruptcy.
Ramirez was the CEO and president of Global Power Equipment Group from July 2012 to March 2015, according to his LinkedIn. That company is described as a design, engineering and manufacturing firm that provides equipment and services to “the global power generation, energy infrastructure and process industries.”
WBUR analyzed the corporation’s most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company is dealing with — in it’s own words — “‘severely constrained liquidity” as a consequence of having to correct four years worth of error-riddled financial reports to the SEC,” according to WBUR.
(After leaving Global Power Equipment Group, Ramirez founded his own company, called Trusted Global Advisory and ran that as CEO from May 2015 to Aug. 2017, before accepting the transit authority position.)
In March, Global Power Equipment Group reported that without a “new infusion of credit,” according to WBUR, it may not have the cash available to fund “daily business operations.”
“The more we learn about Ramirez, the worse Governor Baker’s judgment looks,” Bickford said in a statement. “Today, we learned that the company Ramirez led as CEO faces bankruptcy and was forced to lay off hundreds of employees because of his financial mismanagement.”
Ramirez is the fifth person to take on the general manager position during Baker’s time.
“This is just the latest example of Governor Baker’s extreme mismanagement at the T. After almost three years as governor, it’s long past time for Baker to truly address the issues facing the T and its commuters,” Bickford’s statement continued.
“Governor Baker clearly made a mistake choosing Ramirez to run the MBTA, and he should rescind his hiring immediately,” he said. “Massachusetts residents and businesses deserve an MBTA General Manager with world-class transit experience, not a failed CEO with no idea of how to run a system millions rely on.”
At the announcement of his hiring last week, Baker said, “Luis 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.”
After contacting the Massachusetts Department of Transit, a statement was shared via email from Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack.
“I selected Luis Ramirez based on his long and successful career of transforming and turning around complex organizations, including several divisions of General Electric,” she said. “Luis is the right person at the right time to move the MBTA further down the path to being one of the best transit systems in the country.”
Pollack also noted that it’s been more than two years since Luis and Global Power Equipment Group “mutually agreed to part ways.”
“While the company has faced challenges since, my focus was on his performance while he was the firm’s president and CEO,” her statement continued. “As confirmed by the company, his resignation had nothing to do with issues that have since emerged.”
Baker also responded to the report, reiterating to WBUR that, “We believe [Ramirez’s] body of work is exactly what the T needs.”
“I have no doubt that when we have this conversation a year from now, most other people will agree with me,” he told WBUR.