I'm ready for a mid year evaluation. While I like a lot of the initiatives that have continued and a return to the basics, the public handling of his messages are abysmal...and possibly destructive. I find it hard to believe that he is allowing ill timed, ill advised and poorly communicated messages to be the focal point of his tenure.
It goes back to the thoughts I had at the beginning of his tenure.
A point to consider is that Richard Anderson was the CEO of a for profit corporation. Amtrak is a totally different animal. When he discovers that Amtrak salaries account for about 75% of total revenue, jobs may be cut or lost.
And until someone manages to update 49 CFR 700.2 (requires an act of the Congress) to take out the phrase "for profit corporation", Amtrak by its charter continues to be a "for profit corporation". That it does not or cannot make a profit for various possibly legitimate reasons is a matter that is not included in its charter at present. Granted that Mr. Anderson will have a bit of a challenge, but then he has been there and done that in the airline industry. So that experience should be nothing new. Unfortunately the straitjacket environment in which Amtrak operates does not give him as many flexible options as he had in the airline industry to address the issue as swiftly as he could at Delta.
This is the key. Can a person that has a "for profit" mantra understand that passenger railroads typically don't run at a profit and even if you attempt to cut your costs by eliminating things that don't necessarily make money but can add to the base, sometimes that actually drives away your customers?
I guess we'll find out soon enough.
Would someone please explain to me why Anderson took this job?
He's a disruptor: a manager who comes into an organization and questions everything and accepts nothing from the past unless it is proven to his or her satisfaction - and that's not easy. His intent is to make a comfortable organization uncomfortable, and change the way things are done. People can either play ball or get out. I've been through that kind of management, and while it was very unsettling when it happened, we came out much, much better in the end.
There's a difference in where this can work. Amtrak has had enough disruptors over the years. What it needs is a BUILDER that serves as LEADER. It needs a LEADER with a vision and a BUILDER that can work to BRIDGE the gaps between the various stakeholders and achieve a common goal of providing service where desired.
Why "disrupt" the long term bridges that are needed to provide service and what makes you think that a corporation that is routinely starved of capital funds, operations funds and must beg for its existence every year is "comfortable?
Additionally, if you believe Amtrak, it covered almost 95% of its operational expenses from ticket sales and other revenues in FY 17. It has climbed every year, along with ridership. hat has increased year after year after by working together with stakeholders (states, feds, Congress, employees etc), not "disrupting" the network and alienating your potential partners (private car owners, states, host railroads, etc) . All that does it make the NEXT CEO, waste valuable time and capital on mending fences, restoring bridges and reestablishing the network.
We are finding out that he may not understand that eliminating things that don't necessarily make money but can add to the base may increase bad publicity and draw negative attention.
Canceling the Toys-For-Tots train immediately after a train derails in a major terminal operated and maintained by your company may seems like a good idea. Your excuse may be "we need to concentrate on the basics and that includes a state of good repair"
However, the timing and poor press will take a long time to correct. Even if there is an about face(and there have been a few 'ramp downs in rhetoric), the message has been mangled. It also shows you are unreliable and you have broken the spirit of cooperation with your partners.....partners that can help. How long until Chuck Schumer shows up in front on the podium? How many riders will get attached to funding bills? These attachments may last long after Mr Anderson and his regime are gone. There is damage to relationships being done.
Some of the passengers and future riders? Check!
Other Railroads? Check!
Private Car groups? Check!
Charities? Check! (Seriously!! Charities???)
Now, the Marines!! Check!
At this point, he and his regime are teetering on a shaky C-.
Edited by Thirdrail7, 04 August 2018 - 12:39 PM.