Darren Kettle is named new Metrolink CEO

Metrolink trains at Union Station
Metrolink trains at Union Station.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

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.


Kettle said he was excited to lead Metrolink’s executive team and staff as the agency rebuilds from losses during the pandemic.

Metrolink is in the midst of a $10-billion capital building 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,” Kettle said. “Metrolink is an integral part to the lives of Southern Californians.”

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 Assn. of Governments.

He holds a master of public administration degree from Cal State San Bernardino and a bachelor of arts degree in political science from UC Santa Barbara.