Darren Kettle to Lead Metrolink

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

The Southern California Regional Rail Authority’s (SCRRA) Board of Directors has appointed Darren Kettle CEO of Metrolink, the 538-route mile, seven-line, 62-station regional/commuter rail network that spans Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and North San Diego counties.

Kettle is expected to take over the role on Sept. 7, following approximately 14 years of service as Executive Director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC), one of five regional transportation agencies that comprise SCRRA, the joint powers authority that governs Metrolink.

Kettle will succeed Metrolink interim CEO Arnold Hackett, who has held the position since May, when Stephanie Wiggins stepped down to become CEO of Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).

At VCTC, Kettle has been working with cities within Ventura County and the county government to plan, fund and manage activities designed to give residents access to jobs, schools, shopping centers and essential services. Prior to joining VCTC, Kettle worked for the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG; now known as the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority), serving as Director of Freeway Construction from July 2003 through October 2007. He was also Director of Intergovernmental and Legislative Affairs for both SANBAG and the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC).

“Darren’s breadth of leadership experience includes executive roles in three of our five member counties,” Metrolink Board Chair and Glendale Councilmember Ara Najarian said. “From the inland areas to the coastal communities of Ventura County, Darren’s transformative vision and passion for public transportation will well serve Metrolink as the agency continues to meet the needs of and provide more opportunities to Southern Californians.”

“I’d also like to extend my gratitude to Arnold Hackett, who stepped in as interim CEO in May,” Najarian said. “Arnold has served Metrolink with enthusiasm and dedication, first as a consultant helping identify ways to improve our business practices, then as the interim Chief Financial Officer, where he tackled the fiscal realities of revenue losses due to pandemic-related ridership declines all while keeping the Board and our member agencies informed. His transparency and candor allowed us to make the decisions needed to get through an unprecedented time of uncertainty.”

“I am excited to join Metrolink as the new CEO and want to thank the Board for their vote of confidence and partnership,” Kettle said. “Over the years, I’ve had the chance to work with Metrolink as a regional partner. Now, I look forward to leading the executive team and the entire staff to continue its customer-first approach and rebuild ridership lost during the pandemic. We will showcase the agency’s value and essential role in connecting people seven days a week to their places of work and recreation. Metrolink is an integral part to the lives of Southern Californians. I am also enthusiastic to be part of Metrolink as we prepare to welcome local and global fans to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2028.”

Metrolink last fall selected HDR as program manager for Phase 1 of its $10 billion SCORE (Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion) capital program to improve rail safety and service prior to the 2028 games.

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