The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that CSX and E. Hunter Harrison are in negotiations about the railroad’s CEO position.
Harrison has presented to CSX management his plans to revamp CSX. The former CEO of Canadian Pacific, Canadian National and Illinois Central, is teaming up with Paul Hilal of the Mantle Ridge hedge fund to seek a management shakeup at CSX.
Mantle Ridge was reported to be seeking three seats on the 12-seat CSX board of directors, a demand that may be a source of conflict the Journal reported.
News reports indicate that Harrison met with CSX officials last Friday in Atlanta.
If CSX, Harrison and Mantle Ridge are unable to reach an agreement, then the hedge fund has until Feb. 10 to nominate candidates to the CSX board. CSX usually holds its annual meeting in May.
It is not clear what plans that Harrison and Mantle Ridge have for revamping operations at
In the past year, CSX management under current CEO Michael Ward has retooled rail operations. Among other steps, CSX has emphasized longer trains and focusing capital expenditures on core routes.
In 2015, Ward said he planned to remain the CSX CEO for three more years after Oscar Munoz, who was expected to replace Ward, left to head United Airlines.
While at CP last year, Harrison unsuccessfully sought a merger with Norfolk Southern.
Some analysts on Wall Street believe CSX will be receptive to having Harrison as CEO because of his experience in leading other class 1 railroads.