Eight months after Kevin Desmond’s abrupt departure for Vancouver, BC, Metro again has a General Manager. Later this morning, County Executive Dow Constantine will name Interim GM Rob Gannon as the permanent General Manager.
By deciding against a wider candidate search and going with an internal hire, Gannon represents a choice for continuity. Metro appears content with its progress and trajectory and has chosen the least disruptive path. The politically complex nature of the GM position may also have dissuaded many from a larger candidate pool and made an internal hiring process more attractive. Whereas Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff reports directly to the ST board, the Metro GM has two layers of interim management – County Executive Dow Constantine andd KCDOT Director Taniguchi – between himself and the King County Council.
Speaking briefly with Gannon yesterday, he charted a safe and steady course for Metro, unwilling to elaborate on specific changes or directions other than those already contained in the Metro Connects Long Range Plan. He emphasized safety, customer service, and interagency partnerships, but understandably held his more detailed cards close to his chest.
Not a transit wonk by training, Gannon’s background includes a decade of upper level Human Resources Management, first at the University of Montana and then at Metro. Though having someone with more explicit transit chops would be desirable, executive HR skills will serve Gannon very well as he manages relationships between Metro’s 4,500 employees, ATU 587, intergovernmental partners, and the general public. And with smart minds like Ted Harris newly at the helm as Operations Manager, Gannon’s skill set and experience may provide well-rounded leadership.
STB congratulates Gannon and wishes him the best.