Kasim Reed

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Experienced Executive Selected as Interim Chief Operating Officer

January 21, 2014

Mayor Kasim Reed today announced Michael J. Geisler will act as Interim Chief Operating Officer effective Jan. 31 upon the departure of current COO Duriya Farooqui.
Geisler currently serves as the Deputy Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer for the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, a position he assumed in November 2012 after a national search conducted by the COO’s office.

Geisler brings to the position more than 30 years of experience in strategic and tactical management, combined with excellent business development, operations and financial acumen.

“Michael Geisler brings a wealth of proven business, financial and leadership experience to the position that makes him a perfect fit for keeping the City of Atlanta moving forward,” said Mayor Reed. “I’m confident he will work well with our senior leadership team to continue leading initiatives within city operations, including public safety.”

He was instrumental in refinancing more than $500 million in DWM debt, resulting in annual savings of about $12 million, and obtaining credit upgrades for the Department from the three major credit-rating agencies of Standard & Poor’s, Moodys and Fitch.

Prior to joining the City of Atlanta, Geisler held senior management positions at private equity-owned and public companies where his responsibilities included those aspects of management encompassing capital markets, risk management, investor/lender relationships, business planning and financial reporting. He collaborated with Boards of Directors, Executive Committees and third-party constituencies to shape and exceed expectations for those entities.

Geisler holds a M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s in accounting from Loyola University in Chicago.

“I’m honored to be appointed to this critical role by Mayor Reed, and will continue building on the success of my predecessors to maintain the City of Atlanta’s strong record of performance and customer service delivery,” Geisler said.

Farooqui is leaving the City of Atlanta on January 31, to take a senior-level position with a leading global private-sector consultancy and is managing the succession.

Kristin Wilson and Tom Weyandt are also being appointed to two additional Deputy Chief Operating Officer positions. Deputy Chief Operating Officer Hans Utz remains in his capacity.

Wilson has been the Innovation Delivery Team Director for the City since November 2011. Using innovation delivery processes, she has led the City’s work on reducing street homelessness and improving customer service.  Previously, Wilson was a Vice President of Market Planning at LexisNexis, and a senior project leader at Mercer Management Consulting (now Oliver Wyman). She holds an M.B.A. from Stanford University and a bachelor’s in engineering from Dartmouth College.

Wilson’s focus in her new role supporting the COO will be on efficiency in internal operations and external services, as well as revenue strategies for the city.

Weyandt has been a Senior Policy Advisor for Transportation in the Mayor’s Office since February 2011. Previously, Weyandt served as Director of Comprehensive Planning for the Atlanta Regional Commission, Executive Director of Research Atlanta and as Director of Planning and Commissioner of Community Development in the administrations of Mayor Maynard Jackson and Mayor Andrew Young. He holds a bachelor’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Weyandt’s focus in his new role as Deputy COO will be on public infrastructure, transportation planning and economic development initiatives.

A national search will be launched to find a permanent COO, with assistance from the Atlanta Committee for Progress, an advisory panel of key CEOs.