TTC CEO Rick Leary announces resignation

Jun 21, 2024 | GTA/Local News, News

After 10 years with the TTC, Rick Leary is stepping down as CEO.

Leary announced his resignation in a surprise press conference held June 21, which will come into effect Aug. 30.

He said the decision to step down was made on his own accord.

“This year I turned 61, and I believe there are some new opportunities and challenges that await me before I fully retire,” Leary said.

He thanked all TTC employees and executives he worked with over the years, along with Mayor Olivia Chow and former Mayor John Tory.

In return, Chow expressed her thanks for Leary’s work over the years.

“Over the last decade, Rick has dedicated himself to the TTC, working tirelessly to keep it running and keep riders moving through some of the most challenging times,” she said.

Leary said he wanted to see through one more thing before stepping down, that being the labour negotiations between the TTC and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113.

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He said it was a priority for him to oversee the negotiations and ensure they went smoothly.

“If we had not reached an agreement, I needed to be here to steer the organization through a labour disruption, but thankfully that did not happen,” he said.

Leary dealt with many obstacles throughout his tenure, including low ridership numbers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to service cuts and higher fares.

More recently, a hydraulic fluid spill disrupted Line 2 subway service for a full day, and two streetcar derailments caused major delays.

He was also on hand for several first-time events, including hiring the company’s first-ever chief of diversity and culture.

TTC chair and Scarborough North councillor Jamaal Myers was also among those who lauded Leary’s work.

In a statement, Myers praised Leary for staying committed to providing reliable and safe service during his tenure.

“As this chapter in Toronto’s story closes, we are grateful for Rick’s contributions to the TTC’s successes over the past decade. He established performance standards for service quality, vehicle reliability, cost control, and personnel,” he said.

Not everyone looked back on Leary’s tenure as fondly.

TTCRiders, an organization of transit riders led by volunteers, released a statement on X expressing its disdain for some of Leary’s actions.

They criticized Leary for not being transparent on major issues and not being aggressive enough in pushing for funding.

“Riders deserve better: We need a CEO who will be honest about what is going on and how to fix it, and advocate for the funding TTC needs. This is a chance for renewal,” they said in the statement.

The statement cited issues such as too many subway slow zones and multiple incidents that were hidden until reported on by local news outlets.

Marvin Alfred, the president of ATU 113, didn’t agree with the advocacy group.

“I know it’s a very difficult job being the CEO of the TTC. You have to deal with a lot of things, a lot of people, and a lot of agendas to take care of,” he said.

Leary became interim CEO in 2017 after the departure of Andy Byford. He took the position permanently in 2018.

He was also the general manager for York Region Transit before joining the TTC in 2014.