Statement from TTC CEO Rick Leary on his resignation

The following is a statement from TTC CEO Rick Leary:


Earlier this morning, I advised the Board of my intention to resign as CEO of the TTC effective August 30.


Just now, the Board accepted my resignation.


In many ways this was a difficult decision for me.


But in others it was an easy one – let me explain.


As many of you know, I was recently recognized for 10 years of service here at the TTC.


And 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.


But 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.


Some will ask about the timing of this announcement, and that’s fair.


For me it was about seeing one last major undertaking over the finish line – that being the new Collective Agreement with ATU Local 113, our largest union partner.


I believed that it was my duty and obligation to ensure the new agreement was in place before I stepped down.


And if we had not reached that agreement, I needed to be here to steer the organization through a labour disruption.


Thankfully, we got that agreement.


That means three years of labour peace and three years of full transit service for the millions of customers who rely on us every day.


I’m proud of this deal, just as I’m proud of the many other things we’ve accomplished in my time here.


I joined the TTC in 2014 when I was lured away from York Region to serve as the Chief Service Officer by then-CEO, and my friend, Andy Byford.


My primary responsibility was for surface operations – bus and streetcar services.


Andy also honoured me by naming me Deputy CEO.


My task was 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.


I was also in charge of the Capital State of Good Repair program to address the replacement and upgrades of track, power, facilities and vehicles.


These initiatives helped the TTC win the 2017 APTA “Transit System of the Year” – something I know Andy was very proud of!


When I was named permanent CEO in July of 2018, I never lost sight of those core responsibilities.


But I knew there was much more that needed to be done when it came to changing our corporate culture.


This resulted in a number of ‘firsts’ for the TTC.


Together with the Board and the amazing TTC staff, we did things like:


  • We hired its first-ever Chief of Diversity and Culture and created the first-ever Action plan on Diversity and Inclusion. This was a ground-breaking and award-winning plan that ensures everyone who rides and works at the TTC feels welcome and safe.

  • We also changed recruitment processes to ensure our workforce is reflective of our customers.

  • We created the first international chapter of the Conference of Minority Transit Officials (COMTO).

  • We created the first Capital Investment Plan for the TTC that outlines where investment is needed to ensure the long-term health of our infrastructure. Through that Plan, we secured Billions of dollars for new vehicles, station upgrades and expansion. And I want to thank elected officials from all levels of government for that.

  • We created the first Data and Analytics Group and started using modern technology to improve service performance through real-time data collection.

  • We also prioritized the greening of the TTC fleet with the purchase of 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 cyber security incident we experienced.


Now, I need to be clear, these accomplishments are not mine alone, and in some cases, they are works that are ongoing.


But no one does anything on their own!


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.


Like me, they all understand our company is about customer service first and foremost.


To TTC employees, I say thank you – from the bottom of my heart.


You make me proud every day.


I also want to thank the Boards and Chairs I have worked with.


I always felt like their support and their guidance was also directed to achieving the best customer experience possible.


So to Josh Colle, the late Jaye Robinson, Jon Burnside and current chair, Jamaal Myers, I say thanks.


Also to former Mayor John Tory and current Mayor Olivia Chow.


They were both willing to have difficult discussions about ways to keep this City moving better, but they always understood and backed us in our needs.


I have a few other people to thank.


To former York Region Chair Bill Fisch for taking a chance on a guy from Boston to lead York Region Transit in 2009.


Moving here opened the door to me fulfilling a dream of becoming a Canadian Citizen – like all the hockey heroes of my childhood.


Thanks also to my friends Andy Byford and Gary Webster for their vision and foresight.


They knew that innovation and service excellence were the keys to the TTC’s success.


I stand on their shoulders.


Like they did, I hope I am leaving the organization better-positioned to continue to succeed for years to come.


Last and certainly not least, my family.


My wife of 27 years Anne-Marie, my children Bryan, Caroline and Courtney.


When I uprooted their lives and moved them to another country in 2009, their love and support never wavered.


They have always been there for me – even tolerating me.


Even as the COVID pandemic changed things for our family, they continue to stand by me.


As I said at the beginning, I will be stepping down effective August 30.


Until then, I will continue to lead this organization with pride and with honour.


And not to ruin the surprise, but we have a great announcement about increasing service at the beginning of September that I look forward to participating in!

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