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Metra CEO Don Orseno announces plans to retire at end of 2017

Metra CEO Don Orseno | Sun-Times file photo

Metra CEO Don Orseno announced Friday that he plans to retire in December.

The 62-year-old Orseno, appointed agency executive director/CEO in August 2013, announced his decision to step down on Metra’s Twitter account.

“After 43 years in the railroad industry, I wish to inform you of my plans to retire at the end of year,” Orseno wrote in a series of Tweets. “It’s time for me to slow down a bit and spend more time at home with my wife and family. Metra has been a great place to work. I’m extremely grateful for all the opportunities along the way. Thank you for your support over the years.”

Orseno began his career in 1974 as a ticket collector on Chicago Rock Island & Pacific Railroad commuter line, according to a statement from Metra. He began working for Metra in 1984 and previously served as Deputy Executive/COO.

During his tenure as CEO, Orseno oversaw the expansion of Metra’s railcar and locomotive rehabilitation program, the overhaul of the Metra Police Department, the launch of the Ventra app, and installation of Wi-Fi at downtown stations and some railcars, according to the agency.

“Don’s retirement is a major loss to Metra. He has a nationwide reputation as an outstanding commuter railroad executive who is very well-respected within the railroad industry and by state legislators and members of Congress,” Metra Board Chairman Norman Carlson said in a statement.

“As a railroader with 43 years of experience, he will be sorely missed. We are grateful for his tremendous service and pleased that he will stay on through the end of the year to help with the transition to new leadership,” Carlson said.

Metra’s Board of Directors has formed a committee to launch a nationwide search to find Orseno’s replacement, with the aim of hiring someone by this fall.