The executive director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission was named Friday to serve as CEO of Metrolink by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority’s Board of Directors.
“I am pleased to announce that today we have selected Darren Kettle to serve as our next CEO,” said Metrolink Board Chair and Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian. “Darren’s breadth of leadership experience includes executive roles in three of our five member counties. From the inland areas to the coastal communities of Ventura County, Darren’s transformative vision and passion for public transportation will well serve Metrolink as the agency continues to meet the needs of and provide more opportunities to Southern Californians.”
Kettle served for 14 years as executive director of VCTC, which is one of the agencies that makes up the joint powers authority that governs Metrolink. Kettle replaces interim CEO Arnold Hackett, who replaced Stephanie Wiggins when she was named CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in May.
“I’d also like to extend my gratitude to Arnold Hackett, who stepped in as interim CEO in May,” Najarian said.
“His transparency and candor allowed us to make the decisions needed to get through an unprecedented time of uncertainty.”
Kettle said he was excited to lead Metrolink’s executive team and staff as the agency rebuilds from losses during the pandemic and continues its “customer-first approach.”
Metrolink is in the midst of a $10 billion capital campaign — the Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion Program — which seeks to improve rail safety and service by the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. So far, the project has received $2.8 billion in funding.
“We will showcase the agency’s value and essential role in connecting people seven days a week to their places of work and recreation. Metrolink is an integral part to the lives of Southern Californians,” Kettle added. “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.”
Before serving as executive director of VCTC, Kettle worked for the San Bernardino Associated Governments, where he became director of freeway construction. Before that he served as director of intergovernmental and legislative affairs for the San Bernardino Associated Governments and for the Riverside County Transportation Commission. Overall, he has worked for area government agencies for 32 years — including for the city of Rialto and the Southern California Association of Governments.
He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University, San Bernardino and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California.