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Former GE exec named as head of MBTA

The transit authority announced its new general manager on Tuesday.
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The Green Line Extension project is slated for completion on Dec. 10, 2021, according to the project manager. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A former General Electric executive has been named the new general manager of the MBTA.

Luis Ramirez, 50, has been tapped to lead the transit authority after a three-decade career in the business world, the MBTA announced Tuesday.

Ramirez will officially replace Steve Poftak, who has been serving as the interim general manager since June after Brian Shortsleeve left the role, on Sept. 12.

Though Ramirez does not have a background in public transit, the MBTA said that throughout his career, he has worked with a variety of domestic and international stakeholders, from government entities to unionized workforces.

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At GE, Ramirez worked in various roles for 12 years, ending his career there as president and CEO of the company’s Energy Industrial Solutions division. He then worked at the Texas-based Global Power Equipment Group before founding his own business consultant firm in 2015.

“From day one, we were looking for a candidate with a solid track record of leading large and complex organizations through transformation and change,” said Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack in a statement. “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.”

The MBTA has seen multiple changes in leadership since the winter of 2015, which wreaked havoc on eastern Massachusetts’ public transit systems. Following that winter, acting General Manager Beverly Scott resigned.

From there, Frank DePaola stepped up to lead the MBTA but then announced his retirement in May 2016 amidst a battle with cancer. Brian Shortsleeve followed DePaola before suddenly departing this past July.

Ramirez is now the fifth person to take on the general manager position during Gov. Charlie Baker’s tenure.

“As we continue to invest in and reform the MBTA, it is critical to have an experienced individual with turnaround experience at the helm working to improve service for riders,” Gov. Baker said in a statement. “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.”

 
 
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