When assuming the role of CEO in July 2018, Rick Leary focused on changing the corporate culture, resulting in a number of “firsts” for the TTC - Photo: TTC

When assuming the role of CEO in July 2018, Rick Leary focused on changing the corporate culture, resulting in a number of “firsts” for the TTC

Photo: TTC

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) CEO Rick Leary announced his resignation, effective August 30.

Leary said, while it was a difficult decision to make, it was easy when factoring in his ongoing professional ambitions.

“…What an incredible 10 years it has been — I would go as far as to say this has been the most rewarding experience in my four decades in public transit,” he said in a statement. “For many people, a decade in any job also brings with it some self-reflection when it comes to personal and professional goals and objectives. This year I turned 61, and I believe there are some new opportunities and challenges that await me before I fully retire. And, that’s where I’m at today — looking at the next phase of my career.”

Leary’s Departure, Accomplishments

Leary added it was fair to be suspicious of the timing of his announcement, however, he said it was imperative to see through negotiations with its largest union partner, ATU Local 113.

“I believed that it was my duty and obligation to ensure the new agreement was in place before I stepped down,” he said. “And, if we had not reached that agreement, I needed to be here to steer the organization through a labor disruption. Thankfully, we got that agreement. That means three years of labor peace and three years of full transit service for the millions of customers who rely on us every day.”

Leary joined the TTC in 2014 after being lured away from the York Region to serve as chief service officer by then-CEO Andy Byford, where his primary responsibility was the agency’s bus and streetcar services.

He was later named deputy CEO, where he was tasked to improve the surface network operations and address things like poor on-time performance and streetcar short turns that were a regular source of frustration for customers.

As deputy CEO, Leary was also in charge of the capital state of good repair program to address the replacement and upgrades of track, power, facilities, and vehicles.

The initiatives helped the TTC win the 2017 APTA “Transit System of the Year.”

Leary’s Tenure as CEO

When assuming the role of CEO in July 2018, Leary focused on changing the corporate culture, resulting in a number of “firsts” for the TTC, including:

  • Hiring its first-ever chief of diversity and culture and creating the first-ever Action Plan on diversity and inclusion.
  • Changing the recruitment processes to ensure the agency’s workforce was reflective of its customers.
  • Creating the first international chapter of the Conference of Minority Transit Officials (COMTO).
  • Creating the first Capital Investment Plan for the TTC that outlines where investment is needed to ensure the long-term health of its infrastructure. Through that Plan, the TTC secured billions of dollars for new vehicles, station upgrades, and expansion.
  • Creating the first data and analytics group and using modern technology to improve service performance through real-time data collection.
  • Prioritizing the greening of the TTC fleet by purchasing the first battery-electric buses, with a complete conversion to zero-emissions by 2040.

“There are plenty more, but I would just quickly mention managing service through the COVID-19 pandemic and the cybersecurity incident we experienced,” said Leary. “Now, I need to be clear, these accomplishments are not mine alone, and in some cases, they are works that are ongoing. The credit for any success I’ve had goes to the almost 17,000 incredible employees of this organization and the exceptional senior management team — past and present. I cannot begin to thank them enough for buying into our new vision and working tirelessly to implement it.”

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