D.C. Metro Board Chairman Paul C. Smedberg announced that GM/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld, age 66, gave notice today that he will retire from Metro in six months.
Wiedefeld served more than six years at the helm of the regional transit agency.
“Forty plus years in transportation teaches you that there is no set mile marker for this decision, but given the seismic shifts happening in transit and the region, Metro needs a leader who can commit to several years of service and set a new course.” Wiedefeld said. “This gives the Board time to identify a successor and ensures an orderly management transition. During this period of transition, I will continue to advance several major priorities including opening the Silver Line extension, moving Metro’s headquarters to provide a safe work environment for employees, and restoring full rail and bus service for customers.”
Wiedefeld was hired in November 2015 during a particularly difficult time in the agency’s history. He is widely credited with improving rail safety and reliability through SafeTrack, securing dedicated funding, developing one of the transit industry’s largest ($2B annual) capital programs to restore the system to a state of good repair, and steering the agency through the pandemic in partnership with labor leaders.
“There is no doubt that Paul Wiedefeld was the right man at the right time to guide Metro out of very dark days,” said Smedberg. “Paul is an extraordinary executive and the Board deeply appreciates his effective leadership and, most recently, his collaboration with us as we worked together to overcome an unprecedented set of challenges during the pandemic.”
Metro’s fiscal year ends on June 30, and the next budget for fiscal year 2023 takes effect July 1. An incoming chief executive will have an opportunity to work with the Board on its months-long process to determine service levels, set fares, and adopt a budget for fiscal year 2024.
Smedberg said the Board of Directors will conduct a national search for Wiedefeld’s replacement and will discuss succession planning publicly at the Board’s meeting on February 10.