A Former GE Executive Has Been Picked to Run the MBTA

Luis Ramirez will be the T's newest general manager.

Photo by Jasonic on Flickr/Creative Commons

Former GE executive Luis Ramirez has been picked to head the MBTA, officials announced Tuesday morning, ending a search for the public transportation agency’s next general manager.

Ramirez, who does not have a background in public transit, was CEO of the Dallas manufacturing company Global Power Equipment Group before he founded a TodoModo Group, a consulting firm. Ramirez had worked in the energy division at General Electric for 12 years, from 2000-2012. He will reportedly be paid $320,000 a year, with a 1.5 percent raise each year, plus bonuses.

Gov. Charlie Baker said earlier this year that he was looking for a “CEO-style” leader for the T. And, he says in a statement, he believes he’s found one.

“As we continue to invest in and reform the MBTA, it is critical to have an experienced individual with turn-around experience at the helm working to improve service for riders,” Baker says, according to MassLive. “Luis has a proven skill-set that I am sure will serve him well as he joins the team working toward meaningful reforms for commuters and taxpayers.”

Ramirez says in a statement he plans to bring “financial discipline” and customer service to the T. “Going forward, we need financial discipline, we need operational excellence, and we also need strategy,” he says. “But in everything we do, the overriding objective will be to put the customer first.”

Running the T is a tough job, particularly after the winter of 2015 shed new light on the system’s problems, like its massive backlog of repairs and capacity for failure in extreme weather. Former General Manager Beverly Scott resigned in February of that year after the now-infamous season saw much of the system grind to a halt. Frank DePaola, who later took on the role, left  in May of 2016 to focus on his battle with cancer. Brian Shortsleeve, who served as acting GM, stepped down in February. Steve Poftak, the executive director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, served in an interim capacity since July 1.