Toronto Ontario - Big changes are underway in Metrolinx's leadership ranks.
In the space of three days this week Metrolinx, which is the provincial transit agency for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, informed employees of the departure of two members of its 10 person senior management team, including the executive vice president responsible for the contentious Presto fare card program.
The agency announced Wednesday that Robert Hollis, who had been in charge of Presto since 2012, is leaving at the end of February.
In an email to employees, Metrolinx president and CEO Phil Verster said that "after much thought" Hollis had "decided to step away" to pursue an unspecified job in consulting.
Anita Sultmanis, who had been the agency's chief customer and marketing officer for less than a year, has already left the agency.
In an email to employees Monday, Verster said Sultmanis, who was hired last March, was "no longer with Metrolinx," effective immediately.
Citing privacy, a spokesperson for the agency said, "I can only confirm that Anita Sultmanis no longer works with Metrolinx."
She said Hollis "has decided to step away and take on new challenges."
She said she couldn't speculate about whether more personnel changes were coming.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Sultmanis declined to comment.
In a phone interview, Hollis said his departure "was 100 percent my decision."
He said he had been thinking of leaving for several months, and after completing initiatives such as equipping the new Spadina subway extension with Presto and hammering out an agreement for discounted fares for transfers between the TTC and GO Transit he felt the time was right.
"I made my decision and I really want to move to something new, but I will always feel affectionate about Metrolinx," he said.
"I feel I'm leaving the place in a better shape than when I got there. We've gone through the rough spots and we're just trying to get to the finish line."
Metrolinx is installing interim replacements for both positions while it searches for permanent replacements.
In his internal email, Verster praised Hollis for delivering on "key milestones" for the Presto system, such as the "successful roll out" of Ottawa's OC Transpo, the renegotiation of fare card contracts with participating municipalities, and the "start-up and evolution" of the program's deployment on the TTC.
The installation of Presto on the TTC, which is not yet complete, has been criticized because of technical problems.
Metrolinx has said the issues are growing pains and are being addressed.
The changes at the top of Metrolinx come at a pivotal time for the agency.
Verster took over the CEO role in October and is reorganizing the agency as it works to complete new LRT lines in the region and embarks on a major expansion of the GO Transit network.
Considered by many at Queen's Park to be a creature of the Ontario Liberals, the organization is also bracing for a provincial election in June that could result in it operating under a non-Liberal government for the first time in its 12 year history.
According to the most recent version of Ontario's public sector salary disclosure, Hollis made $262,347 in 2016.
Because Sultmanis joined Metrolinx last year, her salary is not listed.