MARTA board picks firm to guide search for new CEO

3:25 p.m Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 Local

The MARTA Board of Directors has picked an internationally known consultant to help find the agency’s next chief executive.

The board chose the Maryland firm Krauthamer & Associates to search for a replacement for departing CEO Keith Parker – a search the board hopes to wrap up in the first quarter of 2018.

At a meeting Thursday, Fred Daniels, chairman of the board’s search committee, told the board Krauthamer has found executives for eight transit agencies across the country over the last five years. He said the firm was selected from among nine companies that bid on the work.

Parker announced last month he’s stepping down to become president and CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia. He ran MARTA for five years, and many credit him with shoring up the agency’s budget and improving relations with state lawmakers.

Parker leaves MARTA at a crucial time. The agency is planning expansions in Atlanta and Clayton County. Fulton and DeKalb counties also are considering transit expansions. And the General Assembly is discussing state funding of public transportation – a prospect that seemed unimaginable not long ago.

MARTA Board Chairman Robbie Ashe has promised a national search to replace Parker, who will leave MARTA this month.

Thursday was Parker’s last MARTA board meeting, and Ashe choked up as he praised the CEO’s accomplishments.

“Five years ago, Keith Parker answered the call,” Ashe said. “Five years later, without question and without really even any shadow of a doubt, he leaves the authority and many of us better than he found us.”

“He has done the job with class, with taste, with honor and taught us all several lessons in the process,” Ashe said.

In his own remarks, Parker said the agency is in good hands with interim CEO Elizabeth O’Neill and the rest of the agency’s executive team.

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