Southern California’s commuter rail network has named a new leader; Ventura’s Darren Kettle will be taking over the top position at Metrolink in September.
The Board of Directors of the Southern California Regional Rail Authority named Darren Kettle chief executive officer of Metrolink on July 23, 2021. Kettle is currently the executive director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC), one of the five regional transportation agencies that comprise the joint powers authority that governs Metrolink.
“I am pleased to announce that today we have selected Darren Kettle to serve as our next CEO,” said Metrolink Board Chair and Glendale Councilmember Ara Najarian. “Darren’s breadth of leadership experience includes executive roles in three of our five member counties. From the inland areas to the coastal communities of Ventura County, Darren’s transformative vision and passion for public transportation will well serve Metrolink as the agency continues to meet the needs of and provide more opportunities to Southern Californians.”
At VCTC, Kettle was responsible for working with cities within Ventura County and the county government to plan, fund and manage a wide array of activities designed to give residents access to jobs, schools, shopping centers and essential services. Kettle has been the executive director of VCTC since 2007.
“I am excited to join Metrolink as the new CEO and want to thank the Board for their vote of confidence and partnership,” said Kettle. “Over the years I’ve had the chance to work with Metrolink as a regional partner. Now, I look forward to leading the executive team and the entire staff to continue its customer-first approach and rebuild ridership lost during the pandemic. We will showcase the agency’s value and essential role in connecting people seven days a week to their places of work and recreation. Metrolink is an integral part to the lives of Southern Californians. I am also enthusiastic to be part of Metrolink as we prepare to welcome local and global fans to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2028.”
Metrolink has embarked on the Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE) Program, a $10 billion capital campaign to improve rail safety and service prior to the 2028 games. The agency has received $2.8 billion in SCORE funding to date.
At Metrolink, Kettle will lead a 283 employee-strong regional passenger railroad that services 62 stations in six southern California counties across a 538-mile network. Kettle’s expected start date is Sept. 7.
Stephanie Wiggins, Kettle’s immediate predecessor, recently took the helm as the chief executive officer of Los Angeles Metro.