NYC Transit getting new interim boss after Richard Davey named chair of Massachusetts Port Authority

NYC Transit president Richard Davey (left) will leave his post to head the Massachusetts Port Authority. He is being replaced as interim president by subways chief Demetrius Crichlow (right).
Marc A. Hermann / MTA

NYC Transit President Richard Davey, chief of subways and buses, was named the new chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) by that agency’s board on Wednesday.

Davey will be replaced on an interim basis by Demetrius Crichlow, who currently heads the subways division of New York City Transit.

Davey, who has led MTA New York City Transit since 2022, received five votes from Massport board members compared to two for the other finalist, Eulois Cleckley, who leads Miami-Dade County’s Transportation and Public Works Department in Florida. The board voted to recommend a $420,000 base salary for Davey — a 16% raise from his current gig and more than his current boss, MTA Chair Janno Lieber, makes.

The new job leading Boston area air and sea ports is scheduled to begin on Sept. 9, pending a background check. Crichlow will take over as head of NYCT on June 14.

“Davey’s vast transportation experience makes him an ideal candidate for the position to lead the Authority,” Massport Board Chair Patricia Jacobs in a statement. “We are thrilled to be bringing someone on board with so much experience leading large and complex organizations. Davey will be building upon a solid foundation.”

MTA New York City Transit President Richard Davey
MTA New York City Transit President Richard DaveyMarc A. Hermann/MTA

Davey, a Bay State native, previously led the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the commonwealth’s Department of Transportation, and spearheaded Boston’s bid for the 2024 Olympic Games.

“I’m thrilled for Rich, he’s a Bostonian, he’s going home. And it’s obviously a great job at the top of the transportation industry,” Lieber said at an unrelated press conference on Wednesday. “So congratulations to him, congratulations to Boston for bringing home their native son, even if it creates a momentary disruption for MTA.”

Davey came to New York to lead NYCT in 2022 and oversaw the system’s recovery from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Publicly, he extolled the virtues of strong customer service — which he described as his “North Star — launching an ongoing station spruce-up program and reopening dozens of closed subway bathrooms.

“It’s clear that Rich Davey’s expertise and vision precede him and will lead him back to Boston and Massport,” said Lisa Daglian, head of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA. “We hate to see Rich leave but wish him all the best in his future efforts (and take solace in knowing that there will be one fewer Boston sports fan within city limits).”

While Davey came to New York by way of Boston, Crichlow is a lifelong New Yorker and a familiar face around the MTA, starting at the authority in 1997 as a signals maintainer on the Long Island Rail Road. His father and grandfather also worked for the MTA.

MTA subways chief Demetrius Crichlow will be the new head of New York City Transit.Marc A. Hermann / MTA

Crichlow was promoted to work at MTA Headquarters in 2007, first as a special assistant for operations, climbing up the ladder to manage different train lines, and leading subway dispatching, field operations, and finally the Staten Island Railway before becoming Senior Vice President of Subways in 2021.

“Demetrius, 27-year veteran of the MTA, a third-generation MTA transit professional, and he’s the guy who’s put us on the map for having the highest ridership of any transit system I believe in the country relative to pre-COVID numbers, the strongest on-time performance,” said Lieber. “And Demetrius is ready to step up and take the reins as interim president of New York City Transit when Rich cycles out to Boston.”

“I am thrilled to continue improving the experience of 1.3 billion annual subway, bus and paratransit customers,” Crichlow said in a statement. “As a third-generation MTA career professional, I am passionate about how public transportation can improve the lives of millions of people in New York City. We at New York City Transit will keep furthering our efforts to enhance service, safety, and accessibility.”

Crichlow will take over a job that has struggled to retain a permanent leader over the past decade, with Davey becoming just the latest to head for the exit doors after a relatively short tenure. No individual has held the presidency of NYCT for more than three years since Tom Prendergast departed the job in 2013 — after three years and one month — upon being elevated to board chair.