WASHINGTON (WDVM) — After more than six years in charge, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld, age 66, has notified that he will retire from Metro in July, said Metro Board Chairman Paul C. Smedberg.

“Forty-plus years in transportation teaches you that there is no set mile marker for this decision, but given the seismic shifts happening in transit and the region, Metro needs a leader who can commit to several years of service and set a new course,” Wiedefeld said. “This gives the Board time to identify a successor and ensures an orderly management transition. During this period of transition, I will continue to advance several major priorities, including opening the Silver Line extension, moving Metro’s headquarters to provide a safe work environment for employees, and restoring full rail and bus service for customers.” 

Wiedefeld, who took over in November 2015, helped the agency in one of its most difficult times in recent history. If it wasn’t for him the improvements seen in rail safety and reliability with SafeTrack, creating the transient industry’s most significant capital program to restore the system of good repair with $2 billion, and steering the agency through the pandemic in partnership with labor leaders,” officials said in a press release.

The board of directors will begin a national search for Wiedefeld’s replacement, according to Smedberg, and will discuss succession planning publicly at the Board’s Feb. 10 meeting.

The fiscal year for Metro ends on June 30, and the new budget for the fiscal year 2023 goes into effect on July 1. An incoming CEO will have the chance to collaborate with the Board on the monthslong process of determining service levels, setting fares, and adopting a budget for the fiscal year 2024.