Parker: MARTA will be fine without me

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Parker: MARTA will be fine without me

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MARTA CEO Keith Parker. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Update: In an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News, departing MARTA CEO Keith Parker said he recently celebrated his 50th birthday and 25 years in the transit industry, and knew if he wanted to make a significant change the time was right.

Parker said he’s been approached about other jobs numerous times in recent years. But he jumped at the chance to work at Goodwill.

“Both are about service,” Parker said of MARTA and Goodwill.

Parker also cited family reasons for taking the new job. His daughter attends the University of Georgia. He also has a 9th-grader and a 4-year-old. Working at Goodwill will allow Parker to stay in Atlanta.

Parker said MARTA will be fine without him.

“When things are going great in an organization like this, the CEO gets way too much credit, because it’s a team effort,” he said. “When things are going poorly, the CEO gets far too much blame.”

Original post: MARTA CEO and General Manager Keith Parker, who helped revive an agency on the brink of insolvency as well as the fortunes of mass transit in metro Atlanta, will step down from his post.

Parker will become president and CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia, MARTA announced Tuesday.

MARTA board Chairman Robbie Ashe said the agency will conduct a nationwide search for Parker’s replacement. The board is expected to name an interim general manager Thursday.

MARTA also announced it has named Arthur “Rob” Troupe - a former HNTB and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority executive - as deputy general manager.

“It was clear (Parker) had reached the stage in his career where he wanted to do something else,” Ashe told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday. “He wanted to new mountain to climb. Goodwill is that mountain.”

Parker served nearly five years as MARTA’s chief executive and is widely credited with turning around a troubled agency. When he arrived in in December 2012, it was hemorrhaging millions in red ink a year and was held in such low regard by state lawmakers and others that the prospect of expanding it seemed laughable.

Five years later, MARTA has more than $240 million in reserves. It’s already expanded into Clayton County and is preparing an Atlanta expansion after voters approved a $2.5 billion sales tax measure last November. What’s more, the General Assembly is discussing state funding of mass transit – a prospect that also seemed unlikely just a few years ago.

MARTA did not announce Parker’s departure date. He will assume his Goodwill Industries post this fall. 

Goodwill of North Georgia’s current president and CEO, Raymond Bishop, will retire in October after 27 years of service. According to the organization’s 2015 tax return, Bishop earned $971,148 that year, plus $75,851 in additional compensation. 

It was not immediately clear what Parker will earn at Goodwill. He makes $369,220 as MARTA’s CEO.

Troupe will report to MARTA Sept. 18. He will report to the interim general manager.

MARTA said both will work with Parker while he remains “to ensure a seamless transition.”

Look for a full report on myajc.com. later today.

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The AJC's David Wickert keeps you updated on the latest in what’s happening with transportation in metro Atlanta and Georgia. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

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In other MARTA news:

The exec faced a federal judge Thursday over the charges.
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