The Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD)’s board finalized a contract with Debra Johnson as the agency’s next GM/CEO. The decision completes a nationwide search that the agency’s board began in May with support from the executive search firm Krauthamer & Associates.

The terms of Johnson’s five-year contract include an annual salary of $315,000, with cost of living adjustments and potential incentive awards and increases tied to performance goals and metrics. She will assume her role with RTD on Nov. 9.

Johnson expressed excitement about joining the agency. She further stated that she understands the financial challenges facing RTD and is prepared to stand in solidarity with employees in taking similar pay reductions and furlough days.

"I look forward to working collaboratively with the great men and women who keep RTD moving 365 days a year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. I will stand with the men and women of the organization and have my salary temporarily adjusted as we navigate the year ahead,” said Johnson.         

Johnson — a transit executive with more than 25 years of diversified, progressively responsible experience — now serves as Deputy CEO of 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.

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.