Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Gerald Sokol named Amtrak CFO

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
Amtrak has named Gerald Sokol, Jr., as Chief Financial Officer. He will be responsible for corporate finance, business forecasting, and development of growth strategies to help secure Amtrak’s long-term viability. Sokol will report directly to Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman effective Dec. 3.

Since mid-2011, Sokol served as President and CEO of Vertis Corporation, a direct mail and newspaper insert printing company with $1.2 billion in revenues. He was Vertis’ CFO during 2010. Sokol’s prior experience encompassed several leadership roles at AOL, including Executive Vice President-AOL Access Finance, Operations, and Strategy (2004-2009); Executive Vice President-AOL International Finance and Operations (2002-2004); and Senior Vice President-AOL International Finance and Operations (1999-2002).

Sokol also spent three years (1997-1999) at NTN Communications, Inc., as CFO, then as President and CEO as well as Acting Chairman of the Board. He also spent several years at Tele-Communications, Inc. (1987-1996), at the time the nation’s largest cable TV company, in various positions including his final position as Vice President, Finance and Treasurer.

“Jerry’s talent and experiences are valuable assets that will further improve Amtrak’s financial performance with the goal of strengthening our bottom line,” said Boardman.

“Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to look at the strength of the Amtrak brand, the growth in Amtrak’s various lines of business, the talented management team, and Mr. Boardman’s strategic plan, and found myself drawn to this opportunity,” said Sokol. “Amtrak is comprised of dedicated employees with many strategic opportunities before them that, when executed successfully, will enhance our national rail system for the benefit of the American people.”

Boardman said that Amtrak has made significant progress in its financial performance in recent years, with record ticket revenues, covering 88% of its operating costs with ticket sales and other revenues, cutting its debt by 60%, and improving its credit ratings. “Jerry Sokol is expected to assist in further advancing these and other financial metrics, such as reducing costs, increasing revenues and efficiency, and improving the railroad’s operating ratio,” he said.