Former Norfolk Southern head Charles W. “Wick” Moorman has agreed to become president of Amtrak effective Sept. 1.
Moorman, who retired as president and CEO of NS in 2015, will replace Joseph Boardman.
In announcing Moorman’s appointment, Amtrak said he had agreed to take a $1 yearly salary but will be eligible for a $500,000 annual bonus if meets specified performance goals.
Moorman would be the third Amtrak head to take over after serving as president of a Class I railroad.
Graham Claytor Jr. served as Amtrak president from 1982 to 1993 after having previously been president of the Southern Railway.
Alan Boyd was president of Amtrak between 1978 and 1982 and had been president of the Illinois Central Railroad.
“I view this as public service,” Moorman told Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono. “Amtrak is important to the freight rail carriers, and to the country. This is something I really want to do, and I believe I can contribute to making Amtrak a better railroad. I’m sure the work will be interesting, and I hope it will be fun as well.”
Moorman said he did not take the job for the money or because he had been unhappy in retirement.
In a news release, Moorman said he agreed to take the position because, “it is an honor and privilege to take on the role of CEO at Amtrak, and I look forward to working with its dedicated employees to find ways to provide even better service to our passengers and the nation. At Norfolk Southern, our team fostered change by placing a solid emphasis on performance across all aspects of our business, which helped develop a stronger safety and service culture throughout the company. I look forward to advancing those same goals at Amtrak and helping to build a plan for future growth.”
Moorman has more than 40 years in the railroad industry with NS and the Southern.
He began his railroad career working on a track gang during college and became a management trainee after graduation.
Moorman is a graduate of Georgia Tech University and the Harvard Business School.
He serves on the boards of Duke Energy Corporation, Chevron Corporation, the Virginia chapter of the Nature Conservancy, and the Georgia Tech Foundation.
He had held the post of NS executive chairman until late 2015.
“Wick Moorman is a proven railroader whose track record of success demonstrates his commitment and adherence to rail safety, efficiency and service to customers,” said Association of American Railroads President and CEO Ed Hamberger in a statement. “His contributions and leadership in the freight rail industry, I believe, will advance the working partnership the freight railroads have with Amtrak. The AAR and its freight rail members recognize the importance of Amtrak as a reliable U.S. passenger rail service and look forward to working with Wick in his new capacity.”
Amtrak Board Chairman Anthony Coscia said in a statement, “We are very pleased that someone with Wick’s experience and vision will lead Amtrak during this critical period as the company charts a course for future growth and improvement.”
Coscia expressed optimism that Moorman would improve Amtrak’s relationship with its host freight railroads.
“He clearly understands both worlds, and he’s going to be in a position to try to get us all to a much better place,” Coscia said.