Seasoned Executive With Deep Turn-Around Experience Named MBTA General Manager/CEO

Aug. 16, 2017
Luis Manuel Ramírez, whose three-decade business career has included successful turnarounds with divisions of some of the nation’s biggest corporations, will be the next general manager/CEO of the MBTA.

Luis Manuel Ramírez, whose three-decade business career has included successful turnarounds with divisions of some of the nation’s biggest corporations, will be the next general manager/CEO of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack has announced.

Ramírez, 50, who most recently has run his own strategic and turnaround business consulting firm, will succeed interim GM Steve Poftak on September 12.

“From Day One, we were looking for a candidate with a solid track record of leading large and complex organizations through transformation and change,” said Pollack. “His unique personal background, deep exposure to a range of challenges and constituencies, and proven leadership skills make Luis the right person to lead the MBTA as it continues to become the world-class transit agency our riders expect and deserve. With the support he’ll have from the strong operational and other leadership already at the T, Luis will get up to speed very quickly.” 

Ramírez, whose Cuban refugee father operated a crop-dusting plant and later a roofing business in Florida, worked his way through high school as a supermarket bag boy and restaurant worker and continued to work through university before beginning a corporate career marked by increasingly important posts at firms including Unisys Corporation, Siemens AG, and General Electric Corp.

While at GE from 2000 to 2012, Ramírez was steadily promoted into positions with greater challenges and responsibilities. He finished his career with the company as a GE Vice President and Corporate Officer and President and CEO of GE’s Energy Industrial Solutions business, where he was responsible for 17,000 employees operating in 60 countries, delivering $3.5 billion in annual revenue.

Throughout his career, Ramírez has worked with a wide range of domestic and international interests and stakeholders, including governmental entities and unionized workforces.

“As we continue to invest in and reform the MBTA, it is critical to have an experienced individual with turn-around experience at the helm working to improve service for riders,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Luis has a proven skill-set that I am sure will serve him well as he joins the team working toward meaningful reforms for commuters and taxpayers. Thank you, Steve Poftak, for your work improving operations at the T and I look forward to Luis joining Secretary Pollack’s talented team.”

Deputy General Manager Jeffrey Gonneville, who served on the GM/CEO search committee, said Ramírez’ skill sets and background will serve to strengthen T operations. “Even in the limited time I’ve spent with him, I can see that Luis understands and appreciates the hard work and talent of our employees who keep this system running every day,” said Gonneville. “The deep managerial experience he brings to the T will help us achieve even greater operational excellence.”

Fiscal and Management Control Board Chairman Joseph Aiello noted that Ramírez’ contract is for three years, with two one-year mutual options to extend. “After going through six permanent or acting general managers since 2011, the T and its workforce will benefit from seasoned and stable leadership at the top.” Aiello noted that Ramírez has a history of staying in his various positions as long as it takes to implement necessary change and improvement.

Ramirez said he is anxious to bring his extensive experience, from overseeing billion dollar portfolios to managing major technology upgrades and communicating with stakeholders, to the T. “I am excited about joining a great team at the T to build upon the progress they have already made,” he said. “Going forward, we need financial discipline, we need operational excellence, and we also need strategy. But in everything we do, the overriding objective will be to put the customer first.”

MBTA Administrative Officer Michael Abramo said Ramírez’ vast executive experience “will help to further the transformation of the MBTA into a more efficient and effective organization.” 

Ramírez is moving to Boston with his wife Delia Garced, Vice President, Market Activation, GE Digital. She will work out of GE’s Boston headquarters. They have two children. Fluent in English, Spanish, and German, Ramírez is a member of CEO Connection, which helps mid-market CEOs and their companies succeed, and the National Association of Corporate Directors.