The Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD)‘s board selected Debra Johnson as its next GM/CEO, capping off an extensive nationwide search for RTD’s new permanent top leader and naming a woman to the role for the first time in the agency’s half-century history.
The board announced Johnson’s selection at a meeting at which they deliberated among three finalists in a closed executive session and returned to open session to share the decision. The recruitment, supported by the executive search firm Krauthamer & Associates, drew 58 applicants, six of whom were interviewed by the board’s Executive Search Committee.
Johnson, a transit executive with over 25 years of diversified, progressively responsible experience leading and managing business processes for public transit agencies, currently serves as deputy CEO at Calif.’s Long Beach Transit. She has held executive positions at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
“I am extremely humbled and equally excited about this opportunity,” Johnson said. “I look forward to working with the dynamic men and women who have made RTD such a progressive transportation agency. Moreover, I am elated to become an integral part of the community as I work with all stakeholders to improve service quality and enhance RTD’s image.”
The board and Johnson will begin negotiating the terms of her employment agreement, a process expected to be complete no later than the end of October. RTD will announce the date Johnson begins her new role when it has been determined.
Johnson succeeds Paul J. Ballard, who assumed the role for an interim period in February. RTD’s former permanent GM/CEO, Dave Genova, retired in January.