Posts Tagged ‘CSX executives’

CSX Names Operations VP

January 9, 2018

A former Canadian National executive has been brought out of retirement to help CSX in its implementation of precision scheduled railroading.

Harris

Edmond L. Harris has been named executive vice president of operations and will oversee mechanical, engineering, transportation and network operations.

Harris, who will begin his position immediately, worked with the late E. Hunter Harrison and current CSX CEO James M. Foote at CN.

He also worked with Harrison at the Illinois Central Railroad where Harrison initially implemented the precision scheduled railroading model.

During his 40 years in the railroad industry, Harris rose to the post of executive vice president of operations at CN.

He later served as chief operations officer at Canadian Pacific and held a seat on the CP board of directors.

Harris also was as a senior adviser to Global Infrastructure Partners, an independent fund that invests in infrastructure assets worldwide; chairman of Omnitrax Rail Network; and board director for Universal Rail Services. He began his railroad career in operations at the IC.

Holding a Bachelor of Science degree in management from the University of Illinois-Chicago,  Harris served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1969 to 1973.

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Foote Named Permanent CSX CEO

December 23, 2017

James M. Foote had the word “acting” removed from his title on Friday after the CSX board of directors unanimously voted to name him the company’s permanent president and chief executive officer.

James Foote

Foote had been named acting CEO on Dec. 14 after E. Hunter Harrison was placed on medical leave. Harrison died two days later.

In a news release, CSX said that Foote will also join the board of directors.

“Jim has decades of railroading experience and the board is confident of his ability to lead the company,” says CSX Chairman Edward J. Kelly III in a statement. “He has already had a markedly positive impact. The board looks forward to working with him.”

Foote said in the same statement that his intends to continue to implement Harrison’s model of precision scheduled railroading, saying that its implementation is well underway, with the most critical components of the implementation completed and beginning to generate measurable operating improvement.

“We look forward to providing an update on our strategic progress and to showcase our deeply talented management team at our upcoming investor day in March,” Foote said.

Before joining CSX last October, Foote was president and CEO of Bright Rail Energy, a technology company formed in 2012 to design, develop, and sell products that allow railroads to switch locomotives to natural gas power.

He previously served as executive vice president of sales and marketing at Canadian National, which he had joined in 1995 as vice president of investor relations to assist the company’s privatization.

Foote began his railroad career in 1972 as a laborer in the mechanical department with the Soo Line Railroad in Superior, Wisconsin.

For nine years, he worked in operating positions with the Soo Line and the Chicago & North Western fulltime while earning his undergraduate and law degrees.

Harrison on Medical Leave From CSX

December 15, 2017

CSX announced Thursday night that CEO E. Hunter Harrison has taken a medical leave of absence and Chief Operating Officer James Foote is serving as acting CEO.

E. Hunter Harrison

The announcement said Harrison is dealing with complications from a recent illness.

A conference call was to be held on Friday morning to discuss the situation.

Harrison has been thought to have health issues for some time. It was reported earlier this year that he sometimes uses supplemental oxygen and that due to an undisclosed illness he has curtailed his traveling.

Concerns about Harrison’s health had been an issue early this year after hedge fund Mantle Ridge acquired a block of CSX stock and pushed for the company to make him CEO.

The CSX board of directors had demanded that Harrison’s medical records be examined by independent physicians, but he declined and the demand was later dropped.

Foote worked with Harrison years ago at Canadian National and was brought to CSX this past October with the idea of eventually succeeding Harrison as CEO of CSX.

“Hunter is a good friend and has been a colleague of mine for many years. He is an icon in the industry and we pray for his speedy recovery,” Foote said in a statement. “I have been following the CSX story very closely since January, but did not realize just how much progress Hunter and CSX’s able team have made replicating the transformation we effected at Canadian National some years ago.”

Harrison agreed to a four-year contract when he agreed to become CEO of CSX.

In his statement, Foote said that the precision scheduled railroading operating model is well in place at CSX and “the company has amassed the critical talent – through education of the internal team and supplementation with a complement of strong PSR operating veterans and a strongly supportive Board – sufficient to follow through and execute on the PSR operating plan.”

Website Lauds CSX CEO Harrison

December 6, 2017

Someone other than Wall Street venture capitalists and investors like CSX CEO E. Hunter Harrison.

E. Hunter Harrison

Supply Chain Dive, a supply chain industry website, has named Harrison its executive of the year.

The website said Harrison is an example of “how a single executive can single-handedly transform a company.”

The editors pointed to the CSX executive’s rapid move toward implementing precision scheduled railroading and the effects of that change on the railroad and its customers as part of its reason for the honor.

“A successful transition will see no more disruptions, and no love lost with shippers. Look to the company’s quarterly reports to monitor revenues, costs of legal claims, and sales figures to see whether non-captive shippers are sticking with the company through the transition,” the website wrote. “Any further intervention by the STB will also be important, so keep an eye on those stories.”

CSX Executive in Presentation Lauds Precision Scheduled Railroading, Explains How it is Benefiting Shippers

December 5, 2017

A CSX executive gave a rosy assessment of the benefits of the precision scheduled railroading model during a speech at the RailTrends 2017 conference last week.

Michael Rutherford, CSX vice president of industrial products, said carload customers are benefiting from faster and more dependable service.

Although the closing of hump operations at eight CSX yards has received much publicity, Rutherford said a less visible change has been the practice of blocking cars closer to their origination and pushing them further across the network before they are flat-switched or classified in a hump yard.

“That’s how you get the speed and reliability,” he said. “Hump yards make sense where they make sense. They just don’t make sense everywhere.”

Rutherford said running cars through hump yards was adding two or more days to their transit time and cars were sometimes humped more that once.

Since implementing the precision scheduled railroading model, Rutherford said, CSX has reduced the average merchandise transit time from just under seven days to just under six days by early November.

Rutherford cited an example of faster transit times between Buffalo and Syracuse, two New York cities located 150 miles apart.

Previously, freight traveling from Buffalo to Syracuse went through Syracuse to Selkirk Yard near Albany to be classified. It was then sent back west to Syracuse.

“We used to have to boomerang the car over Selkirk,” Rutherford says. “As a result, the actual route miles were three times the actual distance from Buffalo to Syracuse.”

Today an eastbound train picks up a block of Syracuse cars in Buffalo and drops them off in Syracuse, which Rutherford said is a faster, more reliable service that costs less.

Although many CSX shippers prefer to see their cars move in unit trains because they view that as more reliable than regular merchandise service, Rutherford said that where possible CSX is shifting unit train business into the merchandise network as a way to streamline service.

Rutherford said the downside to unit trains is the extra time expended in building and unloading them, which adds expense by requiring the use of more freight cars.

Metal shipped for a customer in a unit train would require 10 days to load, move from origin to destination, and unload, Rutherford said. But smaller blocks of carloads moving in daily merchandise service has reduced the moves to two days and the shipper is able to use 10 to 15 percent fewer cars to handle the same traffic

Those now surplus cars are being re-assigned to other shippers to carry other freight.

Rutherford acknowledged that CSX is seeking to change the behavior of its shippers by encouraging them to order only the number of cars they need and to unload their shipments more quickly.

When shippers order extra cars, those cause congestion. Precision scheduled railroading seeks to keep rolling stock moving along.

“The change has been transformative,” he said, citing performance measures of reduced terminal dwell time and faster average train speed.

However, Trains magazine observed that Rutherford did not say that CSX’s on-time performance remains lodged at its 2016 level with about a third of its trains arriving late.

Now did he acknowledge that some shippers still believe service is subpar or deteriorating.

New CSX Executive to be Paid More Than Predecessors

November 3, 2017

The new transportation chief operating officer at CSX will make more base salary than his predecessors.

Trains magazine reported Thursday that James Foote reaped a $400,000 signing bonus and will be paid more than either Chief Operating Officer Cindy Sanborn or Chief Marketing Officer Fredrik Eliasson.

Foote, a former Canadian National executive, will earn a $750,000 annual base salary under the terms of a four-year contract that was disclosed in a CSX regulatory filing earlier this week.

By contrast, the base salary of Eliasson was $600,000, while Sanborn was paid $550,000.

Both CSX executives, who will be leaving the company in mid November, also earned more than $1.3 million in cash-based compensation in 2016, a figure that rises to more than $3.7 million when stock awards are included.

Foote, who formerly worked at CN with CSX CEO E. Hunter Harrison, agreed to a $2 million sign-on equity award, which is half performance-based and half stock options. He will participate in the same incentive bonus plan other CSX executives.

CSX Management Shakeup Spooks Some Investors

October 27, 2017

The fallout over a CSX executive leadership shakeup has spooked some investors and sent the railroad’s stock price tumbling.

At close of business on Thursday, the CSX price per share had dropped 2.60 percent to $52.92. In after-hours trading, the decline increased to 3.82 percent, to $50.92.

Cowen and Company Managing Director Jason Seidl told Railway Age magazine that his firm has received numerous calls from investors about the changes, which have Chief Marketing Officer Frederick Eliasson, Chief Operating Office Cindy Sanborn, and General Counsel Ellen Fitzsimmons leaving CSX in mid November.

CSX also canceled an Oct. 30 investors meeting that was to have been held in Florida and used as a forum to discuss the railroad’s future operating plans.

“There was no specific reason given for the Investor Day cancellation, but one would have to imagine the sudden departure of CSX’s CMO, COO and general counsel are primary factors,” Seidl said.

At the same time that CSX announced the departures of three top executives, it said it was bringing on board a former Canadian National manager who worked there with CSX CEO E. Hunter Harrison.

James Foote will assume the post of CSX chief operating officer and replace both Sanborn and Eliasson.

Akron Railroad Club member H. Roger Grant told Trains magazine that a management shakeup of the scale of that which occurred at CSX this week is unprecedented in the industry.

“I can’t think of another example of such a sweep of top executives,” said Grant, a professor of history at Clemson University and author of several books about railroads.

The changes will leave only Chief Financial Officer Frank Lonegro from the management team of former CSX CEO Michael Ward.

Siedl said some investors believe there is more going on at CSX than has been disclosed thus far.

“We do not think the departure of these three people, long-tenured executives at the firm, came on completely amicable terms,” he said. “We think their departure could further disenfranchise additional employees, many of which may blame current management for their departures. This would be something the railroad does not need as it attempts to improve its well-publicized service issues. We expect CSX shares to underperform those of its peers in the near-term or until an explanation is given that can assuage investors’ anxieties.”

In a news release announcing the management changes, CSX said that Sanborn and Eliasson were leaving to pursue other opportunities.

That wording is often used by companies to mask a firing or an employee otherwise leaving involuntarily. Fitzsimmons was said to be retiring.

Trains reported that some industry observers were surprised that the management changes were disclosed less than a week before the investor day event and while the railroad remains under scrutiny of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board in the wake of a summer of service disruptions.

Yet others said they were surprised that Harrison, who became CEO in March, waited this long to make major management changes.

The management shakeup mirrors what Harrison did when he became CEO at Canadian Pacific in bringing in executives from Canadian National, where Harrison had also served as the top executive, to oversee the transition to the precision scheduled railroading operating model.

However, Trains reported that at CP changes in top executives occurred over a five-month period and not in a single day.

The magazine said that concerns about Harrison’s health — he has an undisclosed medical condition that limits his travel and forces him to rely on supplemental oxygen — may have had something to do with the timing of the changes.

Harrison had said during a conference call to discuss CSX’s third quarter earnings that the issue of who would succeed him might be addressed during the investor conference in late October.

At CN, Foote was the carrier’s chief sales and marketing officer between 2000 and 2009. He left CN after Claude Mongeau was named to succeed Harrison as CEO.

Foote, who is now president and CEO of Bright Rail Energy, which oversees converting locomotives to be powered by natural gas, does not have railroad operating experience even though Harrison wrote in a memo to CSX employees that Foot “has a proven track record with implementing precision scheduled railroading and  . . . more than 40 years of railroad industry experience.”

One Wall Street analyst told Trains that Foote knows Harrison’s operating philosophy and what’s expected at a Harrison-led railroad.

“Foote could be the trusted, proven railroader that could be a solid backup for Hunter,” said John Larkin, an analyst with Stifel Equity Research. “Just being part of the senior team at CN was kin to accumulating operating experience.”

Yet Trains quoted another source as saying lack of direct operating experience could be a liability.

“Credibility with ops people comes from working day and night in the field,” said the source, who was not named. “If, for example, you haven’t changed a knuckle 50 cars from the head-end in blinding rain at 2 a.m., you won’t have much credibility among the ranks of T&E personnel, superintendents, and trainmasters. These are the people who get trains over the road and want to be led by people who know their daily grind.”

Larkin said Foote might be a short-term successor while CSX grooms Lonegro to be its next CEO if Harrison has to step down or he does not continue after his four-year contract ends.

Foote is not the first former CN manager hired by Harrison at CSX. Approximately 15 people who worked at CN have been hired in operations at CSX.

In return for being released early from his contract at CP, Harrison had to agree not to poach any of that carrier’s top managers.

However, he was able to bring from CP Mark Wallace, who is now CSX’s executive vice president and chief of staff.

3 High-Level CSX Executives Leaving Company

October 26, 2017

Three high-ranking CSX executives will leave the company on Nov. 15. Departing are Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Cindy M. Sanborn; Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Fredrik J. Eliasson; and Executive Vice President Law and Public Affairs, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Ellen M. Fitzsimmons.

A CSX news release used the proverbial “to pursue other interests” boilerplate to describe the reason why Sanborn and Eliasson are leaving while Fitzsimmons was described as retiring.

The release also said all three executive  “will remain engaged in supporting the transition until early 2018.”

Replacing Sanborn will be James M. Foote, a former executive at Chicago & North Western, and Canadian National.

Foote most recently was the president and CEO of Bright Rail Energy. During his time at CN, he worked under current CSX CEO E. Hunter Harrison as CN’s executive vice president sales and marketing.

In a statement, Harrison cited Foote’s experience with precision scheduled railroading.

CSX Vice President Risk Compliance and General Counsel Nathan D. Goldman will be promoted to executive vice president, chief legal officer and corporate secretary, replacing Fitzsimmons.

The management shakeup follows a period of several months in which CSX experienced severe service issues that raised the ire of shippers and led the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to hold a public hearing on the railroad’s service.

The STB began monitoring CSX’s performance in July, requiring the company to submit weekly progress reports.

Harrison said at the STB hearing that CSX will continue to implement the precision scheduled railroading model and has been making progress in overcoming its service issues.

CSX Delays Investors Conference

October 26, 2017

In the wake of high-level management changes, CSX is delaying an investors conference to an unspecified later date.

The company had been set to announce during the Oct. 30 event its vision for the future and some details about its operating plans.

In a statement, CSX CEO E. Hunter Harrison said, “I am more confident than ever in CSX’s ability to achieve industry leading operating and financial performance and look forward to showcasing our leadership team at a future date.”

CSX also announced that its board of directors has authorized $1.5 billion in share repurchases, which builds on the $1.5 billion program recently completed.

“The board’s action to expand the repurchase program demonstrates our confidence in CSX’s long term future and ability to generate substantial free cash flow,” Harrison said.

CSX Shareholders Favor Giving Harrison More $$$

June 6, 2017

As expected, most CSX shareholders have voted to give CEO E. Hunter Harrison the money that he wants.

E. Hunter Harrison

In an advisory vote, 93 percent of the shareholders favored giving Harrison and hedge fund Mantle Ridge $84 million to reimburse them for salary and benefits that Harrison forfeited by leaving early as the CEO of Canadian Pacific last January.

The vote was made public on Monday at the CSX annual meeting in Richmond, Virginia.

Harrison had threatened to resign if shareholders rejected the reimbursement request.

Many analysts had expected the shareholders to agree to giving Harrison the money because CSX stock has risen by 40 percent in value since it became known that Harrison was seeking to become the railroad’s head.

Harrison took over the CEO post last March. Paying Harrison and Mantle Ridge will cost about 12 cents per share.

CSX also said that 13 candidates for its board of directors have been elected, with each member receiving the backing of at least 96 percent of shareholders.

They include Harrison, Mantle Ridge founder Paul Hilal, Donna M. Alvarado, Sen. John B. Breaux, Pamela L. Carter, Steven T. Halverson, Edward J. Kelly III, John D. McPherson, David M. Moffett, Dennis H. Reilley, Linda H. Riefler, J. Steven Whisler, and John J. Zillmer.