February 2, 2011

Chicago’s Metra names new CEO

The Metra board of directors has selected Alexander D. Clifford, an executive with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, to be the commuter rail agency’s executive director and chief executive officer.

The appointment was made Tuesday in a unanimous vote by the 11-member Metra board after a nationwide search conducted by Slavin Management Consultants, a government executive search firm.

“His experience as a big-picture policy-maker and a day-to-day operations manager make him uniquely qualified to lead Metra,” Metra Chairman Carole R. Doris said. “It is my belief that he is the right man for the job at the right time.”

Clifford said he is coming to Metra with a reform agenda. “The Metra Board has tasked me with restoring public confidence in our agency by instilling strong financial and management controls and inspiring Metra employees to meeting these important challenges,” he said. “We will also continue to modernize our operation including incorporating new technology for better customer communications.”

Clifford, 51, most recently served as Executive Officer, High-Speed Rail, for Metro, working as an ombudsman with the California High Speed Rail Authority to help facilitate the integration of high-speed train service into existing transportation corridors in Los Angeles County. He was responsible for making sure the interests of the county, various municipalities and other stakeholders were represented and that the potential impacts of the project were properly addressed.

Clifford also oversaw Metro’s interest in the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink commuter rail) as well as its interests in the Los Angeles-San Diego Rail Corridor Agency (LOSSAN).

From February 2004 to August 2009, Clifford oversaw all aspects of bus service in 26 cities in southeast Los Angeles County as the general manager of the Gateway Cities Service Sector, one of five Metro service sectors. The sector, with an annual budget of $128 million, operated two bus divisions with a fleet of 457 buses and 1,040 employees. Clifford worked with a nine-member governance council composed of elected officials and citizen transit members that were responsible for bus service in the sector.

As managing director, operations, from January 2003 to February 2004, Clifford managed the bus operation control center, the bus regional rebuild center and served as the executive lead for the installation of a Universal Fare System and the Advance Transportation Management System on all Metro buses. He was on the 2003 and 2008 transit community policing contract negotiations team. Clifford also served as the executive administration manager (April 2002 to December 2002), where he managed various performance and budgetary functions, and as a senior administrative analyst (July 2001 to March 2002).

Clifford has a Master of Business Administration degree from California Baptist University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State Polytechnic University.

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