Former Metro CEO Julian Burke passes away

ceojb_1Metro received word that former CEO Julian Burke, who was CEO from 1997 to early 2001, has passed away. He took the job at Metro — then only known as the MTA — at a time when the agency was in financial turmoil and facing a 1996 consent decree to improve its bus service.

Here is an L.A. Times interview from 1999 with Mr. Burke and here is the Metro news release issued after Mr. Burke announced his retirement in 2001:

MTA Board Chair and Los Angeles County Sup. Yvonne Brathwaite Burke today expressed a mixture of gratitude and regret upon hearing that MTA CEO Julian Burke plans to leave the MTA later this year once a successor is in place.

“I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that Julian Burke transformed the MTA,” Sup. Burke said. “This is a much more stable agency and one that has a much better  customer focus than the MTA that existed before Julian became CEO 3 ½ years ago,” Burke said.

Sup. Burke cited the chief executive’s achievements in shoring up MTA finances, rebuilding its credibility with its funding partners in Sacramento and Washington, overhauling the Metro Bus system, and completing the last leg of the Metro Rail subway within budget and six months ahead of schedule among his many accomplishments at the MTA since he was hired as CEO in August 1997.

CEO Burke said he loves the job but feels the time is right to find a new CEO to lead the agency. However, Burke pledged to stay fully committed to MTA until a successor is chosen. An executive recruiting firm has been selected to conduct a search, a process that could take several months or longer. Once the MTA Board hires his successor, Burke said he would be pleased to serve as an advisor to the new CEO as long as it is felt he is needed.

Burke said working at the MTA has been the most enjoyable challenge of his long working career. Before joining the MTA, he was a successful corporate turnaround specialist with Victor Palmieri Associates for more than 20 years.

At MTA Burke helped steer the agency through a series of major milestones including efforts to shift more resources toward overhauling the Metro Bus system. More than 1,000 new buses already are in service with more than 1,000 more being ordered, and a record amount of  Metro Bus service is on the road including the new Metro Rapid buses.

Burke also helped MTA complete the North Hollywood Metro Rail extension  on budget and on time, negotiated new labor contracts and is revising the agency’s 25-year Long Range Transportation Plan which will be considered for adoption by the MTA Board of Directors later this spring. In addition, he helped guide plans that call for new busways and light rail lines in the Eastside, Mid-City/Westside, and San Fernando Valley after he persuaded the MTA Board to suspend new subway construction in these corridors in January 1998.

5 replies

  1. Rest in peace.

    Hopefully Metro won’t cheapen his name and years of service by naming a station after him.

  2. I suggest Metro to name Division 13 in Mr. Burke’s memory. Without his hard work, we wouldn’t be riding the Rapid Lines in low-floor buses.

  3. I think naming Division 13 in my Dads honor is a great idea, he worked so diligently for Metro and cared so much about its future.