Lieber to serve as acting MTA chair and CEO

July 30, 2021
Lieber will fill the agency’s top role, with Pat Foye scheduled to leave on July 30 and legislation to split MTA’s top job into two positions waiting action in the state Senate.

Janno Lieber, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) president of MTA Construction & Development, has been appointed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be acting chair of the MTA Board of Directors and CEO of the authority, effective July 31.

"Our public transportation systems will be the backbone of New York's comeback as more and more people return to work in-person," said Gov. Cuomo. "Janno knows what it takes to make the MTA work for the millions of customers who rely on this system every day to get to their destination, and he will serve as acting board chair and CEO. I thank him for his devoted service and the role he played in managing a wide-range of transformative projects across the MTA system and for keeping capital projects moving safely during the COVID-19 public health crisis.”

Pat Foye is leaving MTA July 30 to become interim president and CEO of Empire State Development.

Gov. Cuomo had proposed dividing the top job at MTA into two positions and named New York City Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg as MTA Board chair and Lieber as MTA CEO. The governor’s office intended for Lieber and Feinberg to work in close collaboration to oversee the strategic direction of the agency.

The move to split the role into two required state legislation. That legislation passed the New York State Assembly, but is waiting action in the state Senate.

Gov. Cuomo added, “…at this critical time in state history, I believe the best long-term approach to leading the MTA would be to have two strong, experienced leaders at the helm - Sarah Feinberg as the first woman chair and Janno Lieber as CEO. While the Senate has yet to act, the MTA nominees and leaders continue to be available for policy discussions and confirmation hearings, as they have been since the legislation was introduced nearly two months ago."

Lieber expressed gratitude toward the governor for the opportunity, but noted he would prefer to serve with Feinberg.

“I am excited to get to work leading the MTA's continued recovery from the pandemic, though I am disappointed I won't yet be working alongside my supremely qualified friend Sarah Feinberg. We are still counting on the Senate to act on the governor's proposal and approve her historic nomination as the MTA's first woman chair,” said Lieber.

Feinberg echoed the disappointment in the state Senate’s delay in action on her and Lieber’s nomination, but gave her support of Lieber.

“As we wait for the state Senate to return to session, the governor, Janno and I agree that this is the best path forward to provide stability and continuity of leadership at the MTA,” said Feinberg. “I have no doubt Janno will do a tremendous job in the acting role. He is a visionary leader who has proven time and again during his tenure at Construction & Development that he can deliver on key projects in moments of crisis. I hope to join him soon in leading the MTA and region through this next chapter."

The Riders Alliance, a grassroots advocacy group for New York City’s transit riders, applauded Lieber’s appointment and encouraged the governor to provide MTA’s new leadership the resources needed to deliver improved service.

“In Janno Lieber, Gov. Cuomo appoints a seasoned professional with the experience required to do one of New York's toughest jobs at a critical moment. Now the governor must give Janno the resources to provide what riders need, including by rolling out congestion pricing to finally fix the subway,” said Riders Alliance Executive Director Betsy Plum. “The governor must also recruit and promote experienced leaders for New York City Transit and MTA Construction & Development. Millions of New Yorkers are counting on Gov. Cuomo to deliver fast, frequent, reliable, affordable and accessible public transit as the foundation of the city's reopening and recovery.”

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.