Sharon Cooney has been appointed to head the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System by the agency’s board of directors. Photo courtesy of San Diego MTS.

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System Board of Directors Thursday appointed the organization’s first female CEO, in the wake of the sudden death last weekend of former CEO Paul Jablonski.

Sharon Cooney, whose appointment was unanimously approved by the MTS Board of Directors, takes over after holding a variety of high-level posts at the transit agency, including deputy CEO, director of government affairs, director of planning and chief of staff.

“Sharon has all the qualities to manage a large transit agency like MTS,” said MTS Board Chair and San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

“At no time in the history of MTS has there been a clearer need for strong and reliable leadership,” he said. “Sharon brings passion, institutional knowledge and a track record of success to the job. She has been performing at a high level as deputy chief executive officer and chief of staff for years. The entire board is confident that Sharon is the right person to keep MTS as one of the nation’s top transit agencies.”

The MTS said Cooney was integral to San Diego’s Trolley Renewal and Mid-Coast Trolley Extension projects, among others.

“I am honored that the board expressed confidence in me,” she said. “I think the board also understands that Mr. Jablonski assembled one of the best staffs in the entire country. I am lucky to have been mentored by one of the nation’s most respected transit leaders and to have a group of professionals that are absolutely dedicated to advancing public transit in San Diego. We are all ready to take on the challenges today and into the future.”

Jablonski died Sunday. He was 67 and had a transit career spanning four decades. He had worked at the MTS for 16 years.

— City News Service

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