William Flynn, chairman and former CEO of Atlas Air Worldwide and a former CSX executive, will succeed Richard Anderson as Amtrak CEO.
Following a New York Times report earlier today, Amtrak confirmed the hiring with a press release late Monday morning. The passenger railroad says Flynn will take over as CEO on April 15, with Anderson remaining through the end of the year as an advisor to Flynn.
“Bill is the right executive to lead us into the future,” Amtrak board chairman Tony Coscia said in the release. “We’ve never been stronger as a company than we are today. We are modernizing the customer experience and delivering our service to more people. Bill has a consistent track record of growing and improving complex transportation businesses. We are confident he will build upon the strong foundation of record-setting growth and improvement set by the board, Richard, and the entire Amtrak team.”
Flynn will become the third Amtrak CEO in a little more than three years, and the second from the airline industry. Anderson, the former CEO at Delta Airlines, became the passenger railroad’s sole CEO on Jan. 1, 2018, after a period serving as co-chief executive with former Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman. The Wall Street Journal, in a subscriber-only article, quotes Coscia as saying Flynn will receive an annual salary of $475,000 and is expected to serve as CEO for at least five years.
That salary will be a modest one compared to Flynn’s earnings at Atlas Air, where he was CEO from 2006 until December 2019. The website salary.com, citing proxy filings, says Flynn received $6.9 million in total compensation in 2018, the most recent year for which figures are available. That included $3.35 million in cash compensation — $1.13 million in base pay and $2.21 million in bonuses.
“Amtrak’s future is incredibly bright and I’m excited to join the team,” Flynn said in the press release. “Amtrak service is vital to millions of Americans across the nation and by improving the customer experience, driving safety, and strengthening our partnership with states and other stakeholders, we can do much more for the American people.”
Flynn was at CSX Corp. from 2000 to 2002, holding positions including Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and Senior Vice President at CSX Transportation. He also spent time in senior management positions at CSX Corp. subsidiary Sea-Land Services.
Atlas Air describes itself as “a leader in global airfreight,” worth more than 3,200 employees in 89 countries. It includes three freight air carriers — Atlas Air, Polar Air Cargo, and Southern Air — as well as aviation fleet leasing. The company plays a significant role in Amazon.com’s air cargo delivery. It has been in a contentious labor negotiation with its pilots since its 2016 acquisition of Southern Air, as outlined on Teamsters and Atlas Air labor websites.
— Updated at 11:20 a.m. CST with Amtrak confirmation and comments, and at 11:30 a.m. and 12:05 p.m. with additional details.