Transportation Veteran Flynn to Succeed Anderson at Amtrak

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

William J. Flynn will become Amtrak’s next Chief Executive Officer and President on April 15, 2020, succeeding Richard Anderson. Flynn’s appointment follows “a planned executive succession process undertaken by the Board of Directors,” Chairman Anthony Coscia said.

Flynn, 66, has more than four decades of transportation and logistics experience, having worked in multiple modes of transportation, including rail freight, maritime and aviation. Most recently, he served 13 years as Chairman, President and CEO of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc., which serves the global air freight, military charter and passenger charter markets. He also held senior leadership roles with CSX Transportation, Sea-Land Services, Inc., and GeoLogistics Corp.

As well, Flynn comes from a railroading family. His father was a Conrail engineer; his uncle, an Amtrak engineer; and his brother, an Amtrak conductor and local union chair.

“Our goal with this leadership transition is simple,” Coscia said in a letter to Amtrak employees. “We want to continue the modernization of Amtrak that started four years ago with Wick Moorman, and then accelerated under Richard Anderson. Our company has never been stronger than it is today. We have record ridership, record revenue, and in 2020, we are on track to achieve operational break-even for the first time in our 49-year history. We need to maintain our current high level of operational performance while continuing to innovate for our customers, so that we can be the mode and partner of choice for our customers for the next 50 years.

“We have the right plans in place to make this happen, and Bill Flynn is the right executive to lead us on the next steps in our transformation journey. Heis a seasoned executive leader with a broad range of expertise [that] includes safety, strategic planning, operational execution, market expansion, capital deployment, labor relations, and government and regulatory engagement, among others. These skills are critical to us as we continue to develop and execute our long-term and Annual Operating Plans.

Bill is a leader in Safety Management Systems and building a safety culture. The Board affirms that safety is our No. 1 priority. In selecting our next CEO, the Board felt strongly that our next executive leader needed to have experience in leading a culture change to support Safety Management Systems (SMS). Under Bill’s leadership, Atlas fully implemented the FAA Safety Management System well ahead of schedule, and consistently rated well in operational and safety audits.

“Bill’s teams have grown businesses in challenging environments. Throughout his career, he has built and led teams that have been successful in many business environments. If a business is down or if the economy is in recession, Bill can inspire employees to help turn it around. If a company is doing well, he can take it to the next level and grow it further. We are confident he and our dedicated workforce will do the same at Amtrak.”

Anderson, who has served as President and CEO since July 2017, will remain with Amtrak until the end of the year as a senior advisor, working directly for Flynn, whom Coscia called “a dynamic and proven leader.”

Following is Flynn’s bio, from Airlink:

William J. Flynn is Independent Director at Republic Services, Inc., President, Chief Executive Officer & Director at Polar Air Cargo, Inc., Chief Executive Officer at Atlas Air, Inc., President, Chief Executive Officer & Director at Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc., and Chairman at National Defense Transportation Association. He is on the Board of Directors at Republic Services, Inc., Polar Air Cargo, Inc., Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc., Mutual of America Life Insurance Co., and Airlines for America.

Mr. Flynn was previously employed as Lead Director by Horizon Lines, Inc., President & Chief Executive Officer by GeoLogistics Corp., Senior Vice President-Merchandise Service Group by CSX Corp., and Head-Asia Operations by Sea-Land Service, Inc. He also served on the board at Allied Waste Industries, Inc. and Horizon Lines Holding Corp.

He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Rhode Island and a graduate degree from the University of Arizona.

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