New York’s MTA chairman Jay Walder announced yesterday that he is leaving to become Hong Kong’s MTR Corp’s CEO after only two years into his six-year term. MTR is Hong Kong’s urban rail operator.
Why is this news worth paying attention to? It shows how a firm bolstered by growth in China’s developing market is able to attract talent from companies in the U.S. Walder was given a tough job of maintaining and streamlining an old system of rails and buses stretching over 5,000 square miles (13,000 km2), serving more than 2.6 billion people a year, and employing about 70,000 workers. All on an extremely tight budget. $31 billion in debt and a $900 million gap in its operating budget for 2011.