Back to Officials


Name: Van Ark, Roelof
Current Position: Previous chief executive officer

After a year of setbacks and controversy, Roelof Van Ark announced in January 2012 that he was going to step down as chief executive officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Minutes after he announced his decision, board chairman Tom Umberg tendered his resignation, although he said he would remain on the board.

Van Ark earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and an MBA from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Upon graduation in 1976, he joined Siemens LTD, South Africa, becoming joint managing director by 1993.  Van Ark transferred to Berlin, Germany, in 1995, where he was president of Turnkey Transportation Systems for Siemens AG Transportation Systems. Four years later he became president & CEO of Siemens Transportation Inc.

Van Ark left Siemens in 2002 for Invision Technologies, where he held the post of president of Aviation Security. A couple years later he moved to GE Homeland Protection Inc, but stayed there less than a year before becoming president at Alstom Transportation Inc. Alstom is the company that builds France’s bullet trains. Five years later, in June 2010, he was selected as the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s chief executive officer.

Van Ark oversaw the drafting of an updated business plan that doubled the estimated cost of the project. As the price rose in bad economic times and questions were raised about the project’s plan to start construction in the Central Valley, far from major urban areas, its popularity plummeted.


Roelof van Ark, High-Speed Rail CEO, Resigns (by Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle)

California High-Speed Rail Head Roelof van Ark Resigns (by David Siders, Sacramento Bee)

Bookmark and Share