Hong Kong's mass transit system said Friday it has hired the boss of New York's subway operator, as it looks to expand its business into mainland China.
Jay Walder, 52, chief executive of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, will become the MTR Corporation's chief executive starting January 1, the Hong Kong operator said.
Walder, who will be initially hired for 30 months, succeeds Chow Chung-kong who came to the post in 2003, an MTR spokesman told AFP Friday.
Walder's annual base salary will be HK$7.2 million ($924,000), the company said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where MTR Corp is listed.
It is the government-controlled company's first non-local hire for the top job in more than 16 years, Dow Jones Newswires reported, adding that he is paid a base salary of $350,000 as head of New York's subway line.
"Jay brings more than 20 years of outstanding management experience in railway and public transport," MTR Corp's chairman Raymond Chien said in a statement.
"The MTR Board considers him to be a strong and capable manager to lead the company forward," he added.
Walder has led the New York MTA since October 2009 and has "overseen an agenda of change that included the most aggressive cost-cutting initiative in the history of the MTA", according to that company's website.
MTR, which also has extensive property holdings in the city of seven million, is expanding its operations into mainland China, with agreements for subway services in several cities, including Shenzhen, Shenyang and Hangzhou.