Kenneth McDonald
Kenneth McDonald

A new president and chief executive officer will lead Long Beach Transit.

The Long Beach Transit Board on Monday unanimously supported the hiring of veteran transit executive Kenneth McDonald, who will take the helm on Aug. 1 and replace longtime retiring chief Larry Jackson, who announced his retirement last year after 38 years of service.

"I am excited to come to Long Beach Transit, an agency that has a positive reputation in both the transit industry and within the community," McDonald said in a statement. "I look forward to working with the great team of employees who have made Long Beach Transit the progressive organization it is today."

McDonald also said his goal is to focus on "employees, finances, transit services for our customers and our quality of service, while concentrating on the things customers understand and expect "" on-time performance, clean vehicles, courteous and helpful employees and clear, reliable communication at all times."

McDonald beat out about 50 internal and external candidates for the job of leading an agency that oversees 731 employees and serves 27.8 million passengers in and around Long Beach, said Board Chairwoman Barbara Sullivan George.


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"We were looking for someone to continue the success we have had with Larry Jackson, who has taken us to a place where we are considered best in class in the transit industry," George said, adding that the national search for a new leader began in August 2012.

McDonald was "a well-rounded candidate" with more than 25 years of experience in the private and public sectors, George said.

McDonald previously served as chief operating officer of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and as an assistant vice president of Transit and Rail Systems with Parsons Brinckerhoff International. He also spent 20 years with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority in Atlanta, where he rose through the ranks to become assistant general manager of operations.

"He will enhance Long Beach Transit's already stellar image," she said.

McDonald, who has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's in technology management from the Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga., will earn $252,000 a year, which is slightly less than Jackson made but comparable to other transit agencies.

"I look forward to working with Mr. McDonald and continuing to build upon the partnership between the City of Long Beach and Long Beach Transit," Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster said in a statement. "Together we will ensure our residents and visitors will continue to receive safe, efficient and innovative public transit service."

Contact Karen Robes Meeks at 562-714-2088