In-coming MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez stands alongside Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack as acting GM Steve Poftak looks on.

In-coming MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez stands alongside Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack as acting GM Steve Poftak looks on.

Credit: Mike Deehan

MBTA Picks 'Turnaround' Exec Ramirez To Lead Agency

August 15, 2017

The MBTA has chosen a new general manager to lead the transit agency as it contains costs and repairs neglected infrastructure

Former General Electric executive Luis Ramirez takes over the T September 12. 

Ramirez says he'll continue some of the cost saving measures the Baker administration has backed as the governor tried to reign in spending at the MBTA. The T has outsourced several of it's functions, like cash collection and call center staffing, to private companies since 2015.

"We're going to double down on what we've already done, in terms of fiscal responsibility and we're going to continue to make the investments to make the T the world class organization it needs to be," Ramirez told reporters Tuesday at a press conference introducing him as the new GM.

The T is considering privatizing most of its bus maintenance facilities in order to save additional money for infrastructure investment.

Carmen's Union president James O'Brien says the new GM's challengers won't stop with the aging vehicles and facilities.

"They've got to work with the employees. Over the last couple of GMs, our employees have been attacked and I hope that he's willing to work with the unions," O'Brien said.

Cost saving aside, Ramirez's three year, $320,000 annual contract was designed to lure top executives to the job. Ramirez will earn over 50 percent more than the salary of Brian Shortsleeve, the last full time MBTA general manager.

Ramirez runs a  so-called "turnaround" business consulting company called Todomodo. According to federal campaign finance filings, Ramirez, a Dallas, TX resident, donated thousands of dollars to the presidential campaign of Florida Republican Marco Rubio.

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack defended Ramirez's relative lack of experience in the transportation world by emphasizing his career as a manager. Pollack said Ramirez will be paired with Chief Operating Officer Jeff Gonneville, an up-through-the-ranks transit engineer who was recently promoted to deputy general manager.

Ramirez has maintained an active Twitter feed and blog on his company's website, covering topics from energy and climate change policy to his thoughts on terrorism and his reaction to the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro.


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