Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a new team to lead the state's transportation initiatives. The Governor’s office said he will nominate Joseph J. Lhota to serve as the chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The nomination of Mr. Lhota was the recommendation of the Governor's MTA Search Advisory Committee. Nuria Fernandez will serve as the Chief Operating Officer of the MTA. The Governor will appoint Karen Rae to serve as the Deputy Secretary of Transportation in the Governor's Office.
"I am pleased to accept the recommendation of the extraordinary search committee and nominate Joe Lhota to be the next chairman and CEO of the MTA," Governor Cuomo said. "Joe Lhota brings one-of-a-kind managerial, government, and private sector experience to the job and a lifelong commitment to public service that will benefit all straphangers. I look forward to working together as we continue to reform the MTA, reduce costs, and improve service for New Yorkers. I thank the members of the MTA Search Advisory Committee for their diligent work and thorough review."
Joseph Lhota said, "Millions of New Yorkers depend on the MTA every day and they deserve the most efficient and effective service. Throughout my career in both the public and private sectors, I have initiated reforms that are performance-based and that cut costs, and I look forward to bringing this same approach to the MTA. I thank Governor Cuomo for this exciting opportunity to serve the people of New York."
The Governor's MTA Search Advisory Committee conducted a national search to find and recommend the most talented candidate to serve as the chairman and CEO of the MTA. The advisory committee was comprised of leading public transportation experts and management professionals in the public and private sectors. An executive search and recruitment firm, Krauthamer & Associates, was also engaged to assist in the process. The Governor's appointment of an MTA chairman and CEO is subject to Senate confirmation. Mr. Lhota is expected to come on as interim CEO within one month. The Governor will recommend reducing the compensation for Mr. Lhota by 5 percent from the previous level.
Mr. Lhota served as the New York City Deputy Mayor for Operations under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, where he oversaw day-to-day management of the City and supervised City agencies. He also served as Budget Director, where he managed the City's $36 billion operating budget and $45 billion capital budget, cut costs, led agency reorganizations and consolidations, and implemented performance-based strategic planning. Mr. Lhota also served as the Commissioner of Finance for New York City and has been a Board Member of the MTA.
Mr. Lhota currently serves as the Executive Vice President, Administration for The Madison Square Garden Company. His previous private sector experience includes serving as the Executive Vice President of Corporate Administration for Cablevision, the Director of Public Finance for First Boston, and the Managing Director of the Municipal Securities Group for PaineWebber Incorporated.
Governor Cuomo said, "Nuria Fernandez will bring a wealth of private and public sector experience to the MTA. Throughout her impressive career, she has planned and improved transportation systems all across the globe. I am pleased that her expertise and talents will now benefit New Yorkers through her position on the MTA."
Nuria Fernandez will serve as Chief Operating Officer of the MTA. She is currently the Senior Vice President of CH2M Hill, a firm that provides engineering, construction, and operations services for businesses and governments throughout the world. In this position, Ms. Fernandez has been responsible for building the firm's strategic planning and consulting practice focused on urban environments and for developing sustainable solutions for large-scale, mixed-use urban communities. Ms. Fernandez previously served as the Commissioner for the Chicago Airport System, where she directed all airport operations, planning, engineering, and management services for O'Hare and Midway International Airports, the second busiest airport system in the world. She has also served in executive positions at the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and the Chicago Transit Authority.
Governor Cuomo said, "Karen Rae brings nearly three decades of experience with all transportation-related issues to the Executive Chamber. She has worked at all levels of government and knows how to manage transportation systems safely, efficiently, and on-budget. Together we will continue to improve New York's transportation systems so they can better serve the millions of people that rely on them each day."
Karen Rae will serve as Governor Cuomo's Deputy Secretary of Transportation. In March 2009, Ms. Rae was named Deputy Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration by the Obama Administration. In this position, Ms. Rae has managed the federal high speed rail initiative as well as comprehensive safety programs and regulatory initiatives, and developed national freight and passenger rail policy. Ms. Rae previously served as Deputy Commissioner of Policy and Planning at the New York State Department of Transportation, where she was responsible for advocacy and finance activities. She has also served as Deputy Secretary for Local and Area Transportation at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, where she created a streamlined, performance-based funding program for transit. She has also served as Director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and as director or general manager of transit systems in Austin, Texas, Glens Falls, New York, and Buffalo, New York.