Transportation Security Administration chief James M. Loy yesterday appointed an ombudsman and announced several other management changes, in a move signaling the agency's focus on sharpening customer service and improving relations with its newly created workforce.

Loy, who served as commander of the Coast Guard before taking over the TSA last summer, appointed Vice Adm. John E. Shkor as chief operating officer and associate administrator for the TSA. Shkor served under Loy as the Atlantic area commander of the Coast Guard and retired in 2001.

Shkor inherits the chief operating officer position that Loy held briefly before he replaced John W. Magaw as undersecretary of transportation for security. Magaw, former head of the Secret Service, abruptly resigned in July 2002 after airports, airlines and lawmakers complained that the TSA was becoming an agency focused too much on law enforcement.

Since taking over the agency, Loy has pledged to mold TSA into an agency that cares as much about passenger convenience in getting through security as improving security itself.

Yesterday, Loy also appointed Kimberly Hubbard Walton as the agency's ombudsman, a position the Transportation Department promised to fill a year ago but has kept vacant.

Walton, who formerly served as chief administrative officer of human resources at the Patent and Trademark Office, will take on the large task of listening to complaints from passengers and a workforce of 56,000 security screeners at airports.

Loy also named the former associate undersecretary for training and quality performance, Gale Rossides, as TSA chief support systems officer. Carol DiBattiste, a former partner at Holland & Knight LLC, was named chief of staff and Cory de Groot Whitehead, a former assistant administrator at the Small Business Administration, was appointed acting associate administrator for training and quality performance.