Mayor Kasim Reed announced in a Friday press release that the City of Atlanta’s Chief Operating Officer Duriya Farooqui will leave her role at the City on January 31, 2014. Farooqui will join Bain & Company, the company made famous by Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Farooqui has been a principal, after six years of public service with the City of Atlanta. Reed, who appointed Farooqui as COO in 2012 after she served as Deputy COO for two years, said he plans to name her successor in January.
Farooqui’s departure comes just days after Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport General Manager Louis Miller announced his retirement, and a few months after former Reed spokeswoman Sonji Jacobs left to accept a position with Cox Enterprises.
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“Duriya has a strong record of performance at the City and her focus on delivering concrete results was a vital part of my Administration’s success during the past four years,” said Mayor Reed. “She was invaluable in helping me restructure city operations to improve efficiency, grow our cash reserves, improve customer service, reduce major crime and implement initiatives such as pension reform and the 30-year agreement with the Atlanta Falcons. I am proud of her accomplishments and wish her the very best in her new position.”
“Working with Mayor Reed has been the highlight of my career,” Farooqui said. “His passion for Atlanta and determination to improve city services, strengthen city finances, and expand the quality of life of residents is unmatched. It has been an honor to serve Atlanta as Chief Operating Officer under Mayor Reed’s leadership and I am grateful to the members of his Cabinet and the Atlanta City Council for their support during my time with the City.”
As COO, Farooqui was responsible for management and policy oversight of the city’s operating departments and agencies that represent a budget of over $1.5 billion and more than 7,000 city employees. Farooqui’s leadership style was marked by her focus on data driven management, recruiting talent and the utilization of technology to improve city services. She established the FOR Atlanta team to focus on results delivery citywide with an emphasis on performance tracking. Farooqui also represented the City and Mayor Reed in engagements with The Clinton Global Initiative, Governing Magazine, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Institute of Politics at Harvard University.
“Duriya’s leadership abilities and proven track record of helping drive transformations are significant assets that will help our clients,” said Miles Cook, managing partner of Bain & Company’s Atlanta office. “Bain has a long history of attracting and retaining top talent to achieve client results and we look forward to having her join our Atlanta team.”
In addition to effective management of the city’s agencies, Farooqui played a key leadership role in several accomplishments during the first term of Mayor Reed’s Administration:
Identified operational savings to balance four budgets as revenues contracted. Invested over $25 million in public safety as the City increased reserves from $7M to $126M.
Managed the proposals that led to Atlanta’s comprehensive pension reform in 2011; projected to save $500 million over 30 years and cover a $1.5 billion unfunded liability.
Oversaw the opening of the $1.4 billion Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal and spearheaded the Atlanta Streetcar project plan that was awarded a $47M federal grant.
Led innovative public safety strategies with APD to reduce major crime by 18% in four years. Implemented a predictive policing model to leverage an increased police force of 2000 officers. Expanded the city’s video integration center to a 2300 camera network.
Oversaw healthcare reform focused on wellness incentives and preventative care, which saved the City $3.2 million after several years of annual cost increases of 5 to 8 percent.
Improved operations to shorten EMS response times by one minute, garbage collection to 99% on schedule, and cut days to issue a building permit by 30% for many categories. Implemented a consolidated 311 call center for Atlanta scheduled to open in early 2014.
“The City’s operations and finances have improved substantially under the leadership of Mayor Reed and his team,” said Richard Anderson, Delta Air Lines CEO and 2014 Chair of the Atlanta Metro Chamber. “Duriya has been an important contributor to this improvement and we appreciate her dedicated service. Her integrity and problem solving skills will serve Bain & Company’s clients well.”