A week ago today, the MTA issued a press release to announce their selection to be the next president of the Metro-North Railroad. The successor will be Howard R. Permut who will take over after current Metro-North President Peter A. Cannito retires on July 15th. Here is the full press release courtesy of the MTA:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority today announced the selection of Howard R. Permut as President of MTA Metro-North Railroad. Permut is currently Metro-North’s Vice President of Planning, Development and Procurement. He was part of the original team that created Metro-North out of the Conrail commuter operations in New York and Connecticut in 1983. Permut will assume the position when current Metro-North President Peter A. Cannito retires on July 15.
A native New Yorker, Permut has been at the forefront of Metro-North’s vision to expand service, ridership and revenue – both East and West of the Hudson River. Under his leadership, programs were developed to improve and expand train scheduling, market and advertise current and new services and create innovative strategies to increase train station access via parking spaces and multi-modal connecting services.
As a result of these initiatives, Permut is largely credited with facilitating the emergence of Metro-North as the transportation mode of choice in the discretionary off-peak and reverse peak markets while maintaining the railroad’s 85% market share of the traditional Manhattan-bound peak commuter. Permut has also provided leadership and expertise in Metro-North’s relationships with its service partners – both for the railroad’s current operations (Connecticut Department of Transportation for the New Haven Line and NJ Transit for the West of Hudson services) and for the creation of new service opportunities (New York State Department of Transportation, Amtrak and local municipalities).
“We interviewed a wide range of candidates and I am delighted that the best candidate was an internal one,” said Elliot G. Sander, MTA Executive Director and CEO. “Howard has been part of Metro-North’s creation and rebirth and his experience and unique perspective more than qualify him to lead Metro-North into the future. It is also a tribute to Pete Cannito that his successor is one of his direct reports. I again wish to extend my thanks to Pete for this and all his contributions during his tenure.”
Permut’s initial priorities for Metro-North include maintaining the high levels of safety and service reliability while planning for the railroad’s future. “It is an honor to have been chosen to lead such a terrific workforce and I thank Lee for this opportunity,” Permut said. “It is my intention to maintain the already high levels of service Metro-North provides its customers and the region at large. As every Metro-North President has done before me, I will work with our customers, employees and service partners to continue improvements so, together, we can strive to make this railroad an acknowledged brand name for excellence.”
A planner by training, Permut began his career in Chicago in 1975, working for the Northeastern Illinois Regional Transportation Authority. As a Manager of Capital Programs there, he developed facility improvement plans for railroad, bus and rapid transit systems serving the greater Chicago area. He returned to New York in 1979, joining the MTA as a Senior Policy Planner, specializing in assessing policy and program analyses with a particular focus on labor relations. He was one of 10 people chosen to form Metro-North from the dilapidated Conrail commuter lines in New York and Connecticut. On January 1, 1983 – Metro-North’s birthday – Permut became the railroad’s first Director of Planning. He continued to be promoted into positions with greater levels of responsibility throughout his 25-year career with the railroad he helped create.
Permut has shared his expertise with both students and fellow transportation specialists through a wide range of visiting scholar positions as well as memberships within professional associations in the transportation and planning disciplines. Permut holds a Masters of Science in Transportation from Northwestern University and a B.A. in Geography from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Metro-North employs approximately 6,000 employees and runs a system comprising more than 700 miles of track on 5 main lines and 3 branches in nine counties and two states. The landmarked Grand Central Terminal is its flagship station.
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