TransLink announced in a press conference Thursday afternoon that Doug Allen will replace current TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis as interim CEO, effective immediately.
Allen’s placement as CEO will last for the next six months while the TransLink Board of Directors searches for a new, permanent CEO to lead the company into its next phase.
Marcella Szel, chair of TransLink’s Board of Directors, stated the decision to change leadership now was not taken lightly: “We believe it is the right thing to do for our customers and for the future of our organization. The Board has decided the time to act is now… when the plebiscite is over, we can move quickly with new leadership and new direction.”
She also stated that lack of public confidence in Jarvis and Translink was a motivating factor in the change.
In his new role, Allen will focus on accountability, customer service and efficiency.
“I will be riding the SkyTrain regularly. I’ll be on the buses,” Allen said. He noted his daily routes include taking the 84 down West 4th Avenue and transferring onto the Millennium Line to New Westminster.
While Allen leads the company, the Board will lead a search committee to find a new CEO, a process that is likely to take several months.
“The person selected as the permanent CEO will be responsible for meeting the challenges of a growing region that expects to see one million new residents in the next 30 years. Either there will be major new investments to implement or there will be the challenge of underfunding. Regardless, TransLink must restore public confidence, and new leadership is the first step,” said Szel.
The change in leadership comes ahead of the voting period for the transit plebiscite. If the plebiscite passes, TransLink will receive $250-million in annual funding from the provincial government through a new 0.5 per cent Congestion Improvement Tax, which will be harmonized with the PST.
Without the extra funding, the company will need a strong leader to take TransLink into its next chapter. The funds will be audited by another party and will be used towards funding the construction and annual maintenance of the Mayors’ Council $7.5-billion transportation infrastructure expansion plan.
Ian Jarvis will be staying with the board as an advisor until June 1, 2016 when his contract expires. He will not receive a severance package; however, the company will continue to pay him his current salary until he leaves.
Effectively, TransLink will be paying two CEOs for the next year and a half. Allen will be given a monthly salary of $35,000.
“TransLink is not happy about this,” said Szel, but the company needs to find new leadership now and cannot work around the salary issue. While she admits the cost of paying too CEOs wasn’t taken lightly, the change needs to occur before the plebiscite.
“We are going to face, at the end of the plebiscite, an entirely new world.”
Doug Allen served as CEO of InTransit BC, which built and operated the Canada Line, from 2011 to 2014. He has spent 10 years working the Department of Finance with the Government of Canada and 15 years with the Government of British Columbia where he served as Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Employment and Investment, as well as three other ministries.
There is no word whether Allen will be considered for the role of permanent CEO after his interim period is complete.
Feature Image: The Buzzer