Monday, May 10, 2010

Houston: Wilson out, interim CEO named

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At a special meeting, the Houston Metropolitan Transporation Authority Board of Directors accepted the resignation of President and CEO Frank J. Wilson (top), and authorized Chairman Gilbert Garcia to sign a Mutual Termination and General Release agreement with Wilson.

frankjwilson.jpgThe board also authorized Garcia to negotiate a contract with former Houston City Controller George Greanias (bottom) to serve as interim president and CEO, while a search is initiated for a permanent replacement. Greanias assumed the helm at the agency Monday, and indicated he was open to assuming the position on a permanent basis.

Though departing, Wilson reportedly signed a deal to terminate his tenure in exchange for payments totaling $456,000, plus extensive pension and insurance benefits. Wilson was present during the announcement of his resignation.

“It is a new day for openness and transparency at Metro,” Houston Mayor Annise Parker said in a statement Friday, immediately following the board vote. “Now that a new board and chief executive officer are in place, I am committed to working hand-in-hand with the new leadership and the [Federal Transit Administration] to achieve the next phase of light rail in Houston."

Wilson was hired just a few months after voters narrowly approved the construction of five new light rail lines to connect to the Main Street line that george_greanias.jpgopened Jan. 1, 2004. In recent weeks, however, questions have emerged about the anticipated federal grant for the North and Southeast lines as the FTA announced an investigation of Metro's compliance with “Buy America” rules.

Beyond that, Wilson’s departure was anticipated following the election of Parker as mayor late last year.