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Former Delta CEO named head of Amtrak

Former Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson’s retirement didn’t last long.

Anderson, who led a financial turnaround of the Atlanta-based airline, has been named president and CEO of Amtrak.

Anderson retired last year as CEO of Delta, then in October retired from the role of chairman of the airline. He led the airline for nearly nine years before Ed Bastian took the reins last year.

Delta has disclosed that Anderson left with more than $72 million in stock last year, including $64.8 million from his exercise in 2016 of stock options that he had received as part of his pay over several years heading Delta.

Anderson, 62, will start at Amtrak on July 12 as co-CEO with current CEO Wick Moorman, until Dec. 31 when Moorman will become an advisor to the company. Moorman was hired last year as a “transitional CEO” to improve operations and recruit a successor, according to Amtrak.

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In a written statement, Anderson said: “It is an honor to join Amtrak at a time when passenger rail service is growing in importance in America.” 

Anderson’s father worked for the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.

Moorman in a written statement called Anderson someone who “isn’t afraid to face challenges head-on,” with experience helping companies through bankruptcy, a recession, mergers and acquisitions and 9/11.

At Delta from 2007 to 2016, Anderson piloted the company through financial challenges with an audacious and competitive approach, leading an acquisition of Northwest Airlines and steering Delta toward a position as one of the most successful carriers in the industry.

His career before Delta included positions as executive vice president at United Healthcare, CEO of Northwest Airlines, attorney at Continental Airlines and work as a county prosecutor.

“The board believes [Anderson] is the right leader at the right time,” said Amtrak board chairman Tony Coscia in a written statement.

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