TfL has confirmed the departure of commissioner Andy Byford at the end of October as current chief operating officer Andy Lord steps in on an interim basis.
Byford said he will leave the network and move back to the US, where he lived and was New York City Transit’s president.
Announced today, Byford’s resignation comes just weeks after the transport chief secured a £3.6bn deal with the government to plug the gap in TfL’s finances left by Covid.
Byford, who took up the top job in June 2020, headed the transport network during one of the worst crises of its history, as TfL’s coffers were battered by the pandemic.
“With a longer-term financial settlement with the government now in place I can now leave with TfL set fair to move positively into the future – supporting London’s recovery from the pandemic and truly becoming the green heartbeat of the city,” he said.
The transport exec’s two-and-a-half year tenure at TfL also saw him deliver the 73-mile long Elizabeth Line, which now carries hundreds of thousands of passengers each day, after first opening in May.
Commenting on the commissioner’s departure, London mayor Sadiq Khan said Byford deserved “huge thanks” for providing Londoners “with an exceptional service.”
“From keeping the city moving during the Covid-19 pandemic, to the historic opening of the Elizabeth line this year, Andy has provided Londoners with an exceptional service and his work has ensured that despite the challenges we have faced, our public transport network remains world-class,” Khan said.
The mayor also thanked chief operating officer Andy Lord – who joined TfL in November 2019 and was promoted to the top position earlier this year – for stepping in while the network looks for Byford’s replacement.
“Andy brings with him a wealth of experience and commitment to leading our city’s public transport network, and the recruitment for the new permanent Commissioner will commence shortly,” he added.
Byford’s tenure as commissioner was praised by politicians and stakeholders alike.
Nick Bowes, chief executive of think tank Centre for London, called the commissioner’s contribution “pivotal” in the funding deal negotiations with ministers.
GLA Conservatives’ transport spokesperson Nick Rogers said his departure will be “the city’s loss,” as Byford spent “two years navigating the mayor’s needless political games over the TfL deal.”
The union TSSA instead called for the future commissioner to prioritise good industrial relations with the workforce in a bid to avoid further strikes.