Ottawa LRT builder names new CEOs to separately manage operations, finances

As Peter Lauch passes on the reins at Rideau Transit Group, the company is turning to two CEOs instead of one to fix outstanding issues with Ottawa's light-rail transit system. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

The company behind Ottawa’s troubled light-rail transit system announced Tuesday that two separate leaders will split the duties of managing the overall company and the performance of the line itself.

Rideau Transit Group (RTG) said in a release its new CEO is Nicolas Truchon. He will succeed outgoing chief executive Peter Lauch, who steps down on July 10 after guiding RTG through a bumpy start of service since last September.

Truchon is responsible for RTG’s financial and contractual matters and will manage its interface with Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM), the arm of the company tasked with repairing and maintaining the Confederation Line LRT.

Read more: Ottawa stuck in blame game between LRT builder and train provider, OC Transpo boss says

Lauch had previously overseen the maintenance division as well, but now RTM will also get its own CEO: Mario Guerra, who will be responsible for the overall performance of the line.

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Amid the division of responsibilities, it is Truchon who will ultimately be answerable to the City of Ottawa regarding its quality assurance and service delivery concerns.

The changes in leadership come as city staff and council pressure RTG to fix the outstanding issues and regular service interruptions that have plagued the Confederation Line since its launch in time for an anticipated rise in demand come September.

OC Transpo has recently allowed RTG to shut down service on the line for days at a time in order to conduct extended maintenance. The most recent shutdown on June 21 was intended to last a few days but was extended to a full week at RTG’s request.

Truchon comes to the job with more than 20 years of experience in public-private partnerships.

His last job saw him act as chief financial officer for the $4.2-billion Samuel-de-Champlain Bridge project in Montreal.

Guerra has been part of the project since 2016. He has spent the past 40 years managing rail transit systems in Toronto and New York.

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