Stephanie Wiggins named as L.A. Metro’s next CEO

April 9, 2021
Wiggins will succeed Phil Washington and returns to L.A. Metro as the first woman and first Black woman to lead the authority.

Stephanie Wiggins, the current CEO of Metrolink, has been selected by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) Board of Directors to serve as L.A. Metro’s next CEO, succeeding Phil Washington, who is stepping down later this year. Wiggins is expected assume the lead of the agency in May.

Her appointment also carries historic significance as she will be the first woman and the first Black woman to lead the authority.

Wiggins returns to L.A. Metro from Metrolink where she has led the 538-mile regional passenger rail system since December 2018. While she comes to L.A. Metro with the expected experience and dedication, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said what makes Wiggins stand out is her heart.

“She has a heart that distinguishes her, a mind that is incredible and the guts to take on the big bold work that is ahead of us,” Mayor Garcetti told attendees of a press conference announcing the appointment of Wiggins.

Mayor Garcetti, who also serves as the chair of L.A. Metro’s Board, noted Wiggins is the right leader for the authority as it continues to evolve to better serve the region.

“Metro is in the midst of a generational transformation that will mean more jobs for local workers, more growth for our economy and more ways for Angelenos to move around our region — and nobody is better prepared to carry the torch of progress than Stephanie Wiggins,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Stephanie’s career makes her ideally suited to lead this agency at this moment: she’s experienced, determined, committed to equity and steeped in L.A.’s transportation history, and she is the perfect candidate to carry Metro into its next chapter.”

In her previous roles with L.A. Metro, Wiggins was responsible for overseeing the authority’s departments of Vendor/Contract Management, Congestion Reduction, Human Capital & Development, Management and Audit Services and Systems Security & Law Enforcement and oversaw L.A. Metro ExpressLanes, commuter rail, rideshare and rail capital programs.

As CEO, Wiggins will manage a budget of nearly $7 billion, oversee up to $20 billion in capital construction projects and oversee an agency with 11,000 employees that transports more than a half-million boarding passengers daily on a fleet of 2,200 buses and six rail lines.

“I am honored by the opportunity to return to L.A. Metro as its CEO and am grateful to Mayor Garcetti and the L.A. Metro Board for the faith they have placed in me for this important role. I am thankful to my team at Metrolink for all of our successes together – and those that are still to come throughout this transition and as we work together in the future,” said Wiggins. “L.A. County has great mobility needs that we must develop with goals of achieving better health, opportunity and equity for all of the region’s residents, and I look forward to bringing transformative leadership and collaboration with the region’s transportation authorities to make this vision a reality.”

At the time of Wiggins’ appointment to Metrolink, L.A. Metro CEO Phil Washington expressed his wish for L.A. Metro “to be the farm team when it comes to producing the next generation of leaders in the transportation industry.” He welcomed his colleague back into the L.A. Metro fold by saying he was “thrilled” with the board’s selection of Wiggins.

“I have worked closely with Stephanie for many years, and she has earned my trust and respect with her leadership, intellect and dedication to mobility and to the people of Los Angeles County and Southern California,” said Washington.

While Mayor Garcetti noted there will be more opportunities to celebrate Washington for the work accomplished during his six-years at the helm of L.A. Metro, the mayor took a few moments to express his gratitude of Washington’s efforts.

“Phil Washington has been a visionary leader, a force for trailblazing growth and lasting progress across our transit network,” added Mayor Garcetti. “Phil leaves this agency better off than he found it — a legacy of an expanding public transportation system that gets Angelenos where they need to go and remains a force for sustainability, equity, jobs, workforce development and shared prosperity across the L.A. area.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.