Amtrak announces Bill Flynn to retire, Stephen Gardner will become president and CEO

Written by David C. Lester, Editor In Chief
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Amtrak will soon have a new CEO.

Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia announced that Bill Flynn will be retiring after leading Amtrak since April 2020 and that Stephen J. Gardner will be appointed as the company’s new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective January 17, 2022.

Gardner currently serves as Amtrak’s President, leading the railroad’s day-to-day operations, customer growth initiatives and strategies to modernize Amtrak’s products, services, infrastructure and fleet.

Flynn, who led Amtrak through COVID-19 recovery efforts, prioritized safety and customer experience initiatives, advanced major infrastructure projects, expanded the company’s diversity and inclusion and executed major equipment procurements, all to position the company for the future. Flynn will continue as a senior advisor to Gardner and the company for the remainder of the fiscal year following his retirement to support the transition.

“I want to thank Bill Flynn for his strong and steady hand leading Amtrak and navigating a global pandemic,” said Coscia. “This was one of Amtrak’s most challenging periods in its 50-year history. Bill has built a strong foundation for continued safe and reliable operations, innovation and growth.”

Stephen Gardner (Amtrak photo)

“With the Biden Administration and Congress just having made a transformational investment in intercity passenger rail, this is the right time to transition the leadership of the company for the long term to help guide Amtrak’s promising future,” added Coscia. “Stephen has the business skills, industry knowledge and vision to improve and modernize service for the next generation of Amtrak’s customers.”

Gardner has been with Amtrak since 2009 serving in a variety of leadership roles including Chief Operating and Commercial Officer. He has been responsible for efforts to expand state-supported service partnerships, increase Acela capacity, improve Northeast Corridor infrastructure and develop Amtrak’s strategic plan.

“I’m truly humbled and honored to assume this role for America’s Railroad,” Gardner said. “With the help of the bipartisan infrastructure investment, I’m excited about working with our state, commuter and freight rail and federal partners to improve our assets, renew our fleet and expand Amtrak service to more communities. Having started my railroad career as an Amtrak intern, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime to help lead the incredible team of dedicated men and women at Amtrak.”

Prior to Amtrak, Gardner worked as senior staff on the Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Surface Transportation & Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security. Previously he served as Legislative Assistant for Transportation for Senator Tom Carper and Congressman Bob Clement. Early in his transportation career, Gardner held various operating and managerial positions with Guilford Rail System’s Maine Central Railroad in Maine and Massachusetts, and the Buckingham Branch Railroad in Virginia.

Gardner, 45, received his BA from Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., and resides in Philadelphia with his wife and two children.

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