Catherine Rinaldi, who served as interim president of the Long Island Rail Road, announced at Monday’s committee meeting that she will be stepping down from the role. She did not say why.
Rinaldi will continue to serve as the president of the Metro-North, a post she was appointed to in February 2018 and maintained while serving as the LIRR’s interim president. She is the sixth president of Metro-North and the first woman to serve in the position.
Chairman of the MTA Janno Lieber has asked LIRR Senior Vice President of Operations Rob Free to take the position of acting Long Island Rail Road president.
“Rob has served the railroad with extraordinary dedication for many years,” Rinaldi said. “… Rob has an unsurpassed knowledge of the railroad, its operations, its infrastructure and its people, and I’m thrilled he will have this opportunity to lead the organization that he has served so faithfully for all these years.”
Rinaldi said that she will be working with Free to transfer her responsibilities as interim president of the railroad to him.
As a Long Island native who grew up riding the LIRR, Rinaldi said she was “thrilled” to assume the position of Long Island Rail Road interim president in February 2022.
“It was an offer I couldn’t refuse and never wanted to refuse,” Rinaldi said.
She said it was a “critical time” for the LIRR when she became interim president as the final efforts were underway to implement service to the new Grand Central Madison.
Rinaldi said that with the completion of many projects she worked on in her role for the LIRR, she finds this is a “good time” to begin transitioning out of the position.
“While we are on the topic of innovating and improving, that will not stop once I’m back over to Metro-North full time,” Rinaldi said.
Rinaldi thanked the railroad teams for their collaborative work as she bid goodbye to her LIRR position.
“I am confident that the railroad teams will be able to meet our commitments, while at the same time continuing to provide the safe and reliable service that our customers expect and deserve,” Rinaldi said.