After filling the position on an interim basis, Marie-Claude Léonard will officially become the new General Manager of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM).
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His appointment is expected to be officially announced on Friday. Ms Léonard has held the position on an interim basis following the departure of Luc Tremblay, who has held the position for the past eight years.
“We gave everyone a chance. We looked at very interesting candidates from outside the STM, but after interviews, analysis and discussion, we concluded that Marie-Claude Léonard is the best possible person,” said Éric Alan Caldwell, President of the STM Board of Directors.
The STM would have received “dozens and dozens” of requests. Four finalists were interviewed by the selection committee.
Ms. Léonard has been with STM for 30 years, 20 of which as a manager.
She started her career as a cashier as a college student before working her way up.
Last September she was appointed Executive Director – Metro and Bus Operations.
“She is able to make the necessary decisions and take action. She was never satisfied with the status quo. And since she’s been in the meantime, she’s given a strong lead,” Caldwell said.
He reminds us that the context has changed a lot in recent years, both due to the pandemic and technological developments, and that what was needed was a person who was not afraid to make decisions and do things differently.
“It takes decision makers to be able to do the right analysis, make decisions and implement them with the teams, and Marie-Claude had all that package,” said Mr. Caldwell.
Among the challenges that await her, Ms Léonard must notably win back customers who have abandoned public transport since the pandemic.
The STM also faces large structural financial deficits.
The electrification of the bus fleet will also force the company to rethink.
“We’re not just replacing buses. It’s a technology shift. You have to think about how garages work, how to do maintenance and repairs, how to plan routes and travel times, how to charge,” Mr Caldwell gave as an example.
The extension of the blue line, for which the Quebec government confirmed funding last April, will also attract attention. Last April, the STM initiated the procedure by issuing a notice of suitability for the construction of the tunnel.
STM wants more projects to be realized in the years to come.
“Development should not be left to future generations. After the blue line, other needs remain to be identified, including the extension of the western branch of the orange line and the project to replace the REM de l’Est. The STM wants to be involved in development projects,” said Mr. Caldwell.