According to the MTA’s press release this afternoon, MTA Chairman Jay Walder has suddenly announced his resignation. He has plans to head to the Far East and take a job as the CEO of MTR Corp. MTR is a publicly traded company that operates rail services in Asia and Europe, and is involved in a wide range of business activities, including consulting and property development. The Hong Kong based company has total revenue of $3.8 billion in 2010 with a supposed $1.1 billion of underlying profit.
After Walder joined in October of 2009, he has completely turned the MTA upside down. His “Making Every Dollar Count” project is expected to yield $3.8 billion in cumulative savings by 2014. To tackle the fiscal crisis he raised rider fares, cut capital projects, limited spending, and let employees go. Not only has he attended to the agency’s financial problems, but he’s also responsible for the new countdown clocks, security camera upgrades, and the MTA website makeover.
Unfortunately, he won’t be able to oversee all his planned endeavors for the MTA. He was never able to get beyond the testing phase for his smartcard technology project. The plan was to take the technology he implemented in London and adapt it for use in our system, but I guess the challenge was tougher than he had planned. Regardless, his successors have plans to continue his work and finish what he started.
The MTA has said that Walder’s resignation will be effective October 1st, 2011. After that, he only has a few months to get acclimated to living in Asia before officially starting his new position on January 1st, 2012. In Walder’s statement, he says “this is an exciting opportunity for me to lead a publicly-traded, multi-national corporation with a broad set of business activities.” It is unknown what his total compensation package will be, but he will also be made a member of the board.
He replaces the current CEO, Sir Chung-Kong Chow, who has held the position since 2003. The 60 year old man was knighted in the United Kingdom in 2000 for his contributions to the transportation industry. Sir Chung also holds a BA and MS in chemical engineering from US universities, an MBA from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from the University of Bath. I hope Jay Walder will be able to fill his shoes as the new CEO of MTR Corp.