Passenger Rail, Workforce, Certification & Training

Transport Auckland appoints new chief executive

Photo: Auckland Transport

Transport Auckland (AT) has appointed Shane Ellison, a senior figure in the multinational Transdev, which runs Auckland’s passenger train network, as its new chief executive.

Ellison has in recent years held a number of senior executive roles in Transdev Australasia, responsible for the delivery of Transdev’s ferry, bus and light rail services in New South Wales and Queensland.

Before his work in Australia, Ellison worked with Transdev in Paris, where he was responsible for global corporate development and innovation, and reportedly had a key role in infrastructure projects in Europe, North American, and the Middle East.

Ellison will take over from David Warburton, AT’s founding chief executive, on 11 December this year.

“During David’s time he has brought multiple legacy organisations into a single united organisation that has delivered many significant projects of world-class scale and complexity. But his true legacy is leaving behind an organisation with a culture and capability that is well positioned to meet the many transport challenges Auckland faces into the future,” Auckland Transport’s chairman Dr Lester Levy said.

According to Levy the selection panel had been especially impressed with Ellison’s demonstrated leadership experience, as well as his dedication to innovation customer service.

“In a first, Shane was selected in an exemplar of a collaborative approach between a CCO and the Mayor, with the Mayor, AT Deputy Chairman, Wayne Donnelly and myself fully involved in the selection process from the outset. Pippa Coom [chair of the Waitemata Local Board] and Renata Blair [member of the Independent Maori Statutory Board] were both involved in the final selection panel,” Levy said.

Auckland’s Mayor Phil Goff said that Mr Ellison’s selection was unanimously decided by the both the panel and Auckland Transport’s board.

“It is good to have a returning Kiwi who will bring years of overseas experience to AT as well as familiarity with our city and culture,” the mayor said.

“Auckland is facing rapid changes in the transport space and I am confident that Mr Ellison will work with Council to implement a transport strategy focused not only on reducing congestion but also on better public transport that is responsive to the needs of this city.”

As chief executive, Ellison will be paid $575,000 per annum (without a bonus scheme attached), which the mayor claimed demonstrated the frugality of the AT board.

“I am pleased that the Auckland Transport Board has been responsive to my request for fiscal prudence in setting a lower remuneration, which can be difficult when you are competing in an international market for the best person,” Goff said.