Amtrak Elevating Harris, Williams; Naparstek retires


Written by

William C. Vantuono, editor

Roger Harris becomes chairman of Amtrak on July 5, reporting to CEO Stephen Gardner. Amtrak Photo

Effective July 5, 2022, Amtrak separated the roles of president and CEO, promoting Chief Commercial Officer Roger Harris to President, reporting to Stephen Gardner, who will have the sole title of CEO. Additionally, Senior Vice President Service Delivery and Operations Gerhard (Gery) Williams will be promoted to Executive Vice President Service Delivery and Operations, succeeding Scot Naparstek, who is retiring.

Gerry Williams. Amtrak Photo

Harris’ direct reports will be Williams; Dennis Newman, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Planning, and his current direct reports, while a new CCO is sought. Harris “will lead the coordination of service delivery and operations, marketing, customer service, network planning, real estate and corporate accessibility functions,” Amtrak said. “He and his team will be dedicated to improving Amtrak’s service delivery and experience to its customers and partners, while ensuring the integration of critical functions that market, sell, plan, design and deliver its services to our current and future customers.”

Harris has been CCO of Marketing and Revenue since April 2019. He is described as “a proven leader with over 25 years of experience in the transportation industry, expertise across all business functions and decades of working with various operational roles to create field-tested product improvements built around customer needs.Prior to joining Amtrak, he served as Senior Vice President of Revenue, Distribution and Alliances for Aeroméxico. , Harris has held executive positions in commercial and strategic functions at Delta Air Lines, Sun Country Airlines, GMAC Financial Services, Northwest Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Williams succeeds Scot Naparstek, who is retiring after 10 years with Amtrak, including serving as Executive Vice President, Service Delivery and Operations since January 2017, “where he successfully led Amtrak’s operations through the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic while providing major services. safety enhancements, such as the implementation of Positive Train Control safety technology on the Amtrak network and the first FRA-approved safety management system,” Amtrak said.

Scottish Naparstek. Amtrak Photo

Williams will be responsible for “leading the strategic development of Amtrak’s operating capabilities, including transportation, mechanical, infrastructure and customer service functions, as well as overseeing the day-to-day delivery and improvement of services to Amtrak customers on board its trains and at its stations,” Amtrak noted. “He is a recognized leader in the rail industry, with more than 30 years of experience.” Williams joined Amtrak in June 2017 as vice president and chief engineer responsible for the maintenance, construction and delivery of Amtrak’s rail infrastructure assets, including the Northeast Corridor.Prior to Amtrak, he held a wide range of leadership roles at CSX, including VP Mechanical, Director Mechanical and AVP Network Operations – Locomotive Management, and has held his current role since January 2022.

“Amtrak has entered an exciting new era of growth and development, with more opportunities than ever before,” said Gardner. “The appointments of Roger as President and Gery as Executive Vice President of Service Delivery and Operations by our Board of Directors will help the company accelerate its progress in recovery, growth and transformation. of the business.”

“It’s rather unusual, in and of itself, for the president of an organization to have a boss, other than the board itself, in a governance role,” comments a longtime passenger rail advocate and The age of the railway Editor David Peter Alan. “Amtrak’s management structure has been somewhat confusing over the years, but not like this. It was widely believed that Stephen Gardner wanted to consolidate the positions of president and CEO, not divide them again. Also, why would Amtrak have another “airline man” as president instead of someone with solid railroad experience who might be able to get more respect from railroad managers? freight hosts? At a time when airlines are being discounted by the public and business travelers are reducing their reliance on air travel, I would see this as a great opportunity for Amtrak to tout the benefits of rail travel, for opposed to the aircraft. It seems to me that Amtrak missed a great opportunity. In a way, this takes us back to 1971, when Amtrak’s first president, Roger Lewis, comes from the aerospace industry.

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