In breaking news out of Vancouver BC late Tuesday evening, Global News is reporting that Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond will be named the CEO of TransLink on Wednesday morning. Desmond will join TransLink after a tumultuous year for the agency, having lost their equivalent of an ST3 vote last July when their $7.5B CAD plebiscite lost by a 2-to-1 margin. Adding pressure to Desmond’s new role, much of the public criticism of TransLink has been focused on executive mismanagement, giving Desmond a chance to leave a lasting impression should he be able to right the ship.
Long underpaid by national standards – with new Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff taking in nearly 50% more than Desmond – the move will come with a significant pay raise
to between $325,000 and $406,000 to $365,000 CAD, according to TransLink’s job advertisement. Yet even this figure is a cut from former CEO Ian Jarvis’ $435,000 CAD annual haul.
Desmond leaves a mostly positive legacy from his tenure at Metro. A wonk in a politican’s job, Desmond has long impressed me with his analytical skills and pragmatic streak. During his tenure, Metro has seen iterative (if sometimes halting) improvement in a number of areas, including more transparent service planning, the introduction of RapidRide, and the creation of a nearly citywide frequent service network. He ably rode Metro through the whiplash of the recession that quickly became a boom, arguing for a balance between rebuilding reserves, deploying service, and investing in long-term capital needs.
STB wishes him well as he leaves his home in Tacoma for the Lower Mainland.