“Joe Lhota brings one-of-a-kind managerial, government, and private sector experience to the job and a lifelong commitment to public service that will benefit all straphangers,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “I look forward to working together as we continue to reform the MTA, reduce costs, and improve service for New Yorkers.”
The move has been rumored for several days, and after Gov. Cuomo appointed Patrick Foye to head the Port Authority yesterday, he has now taken full ownership of running two massive New York City based agencies.
“Millions of New Yorkers depend on the MTA every day and they deserve the most efficient and effective service,” said Mr. Lhota. “Throughout my career in both the public and private sectors, I have initiated reforms that are performance-based and that cut costs, and I look forward to bringing this same approach to the MTA.”
The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation but Mr. Lhota is expected to come on as interim CEO within one month.
The announcement though was greeted favorably by Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos:
“Today’s nomination of Joe Lhota as Chairman of the MTA comes at a critical time for the MTA, and once again highlights the importance of mass transit in New York City and the entire 12-county service region,” he said. “The MTA faces significant challenges that need to be resolved, including finding a way to repeal the onerous MTA payroll tax. I, along with Senator Fuschillo, the Senate Transportation Chair, and our other members, look forward to receiving and reviewing the Governor’s nomination, and getting to know Joe Lhota better during the upcoming confirmation process.”
Mr. Cuomo will also recommend that Mr. Lhota take a 5 percent pay cut from the previous head of the agency, Chris Ward, who stepped aside under pressure from Mr. Cuomo earlier this month.
Mr. Lhota served as the New York City Deputy Mayor for Operations under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, where he oversaw day-to-day management of the City and supervised City agencies. He also served as Budget Director, where he managed the City’s $36 billion operating budget and $45 billion capital budget, cut costs, led agency reorganizations and consolidations, and implemented performance-based strategic planning. Mr. Lhota also served as the Commissioner of Finance for New York City and has been a Board Member of the MTA.
Mr. Lhota currently serves as the Executive Vice President, Administration for The Madison Square Garden Company. His previous private sector experience includes serving as the Executive Vice President of Corporate Administration for Cablevision, the Director of Public Finance for First Boston, and the Managing Director of the Municipal Securities Group for PaineWebber Incorporated.
Mr. Lhota received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and graduated cum laude from Georgetown University. He was born in the Bronx, raised on Long Island, and lives in Brooklyn. He is the son of a retired New York Police Department lieutenant and the grandson of a New York City Fire Department firefighter and a New York City taxi driver.