Darren Kettle has officially been named the new chief executive officer (CEO) of Metrolink by the Board of Directors of the Southern California Regional Rail Authority. Kettle’s expected start date is September 7, when he will begin to lead the 283 employee-strong regional passenger railroad that services 62 stations in six southern California counties across a 538-mile network.
Kettle comes from a position of leadership, working as executive director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC), which is one of the five regional transportation agencies that comprise the joint powers authority that governs Metrolink. Kettle replaces Stephanie Wiggins, who became CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) in May. Arnold Hackett has recently served as Metrolink’s interim CEO.
Metrolink will be set up for success moving forward with Kettle’s leadership, as his professional career spans more than 32 years. Over the past three decades, he has worked for numerous local and regional government agencies — including the City of Rialto, the County of San Bernardino, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), his positions with the transportation agencies of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and his position with VCTC.
“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.”
He has been the executive director of VCTC since 2007. In this position, he 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 at VCTC.
Prior to joining VCTC, Kettle was employed by the San Bernardino Associated Governments since November 2000 and served as the director of freeway construction from July 2003 through October 2007.
Kettle expressed his enthusiasm for the future of the agency and its ongoing projects.
“We will showcase the agency’s value and essential role in connecting people seven days a week to their places of work and recreation,” said Kettle. “Metrolink is an integral part of 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.”