Posts Tagged ‘railroad executives’

Corman Names Transportation VP

April 17, 2018

Paul Lauritzen has been named vice present of transportation of R.J. Corman Railroad Group.

In a news release, the railroad said that Lauritzen will direct and oversee R. J. Corman Railroad Switching Company, which provides railroad services as loading, assembly, disassembly and movement of rail-car consists for U.S. industrial facilities.

Mike Philpot, who has been president of the switching company, will remain active at the company by providing operational direction in an advisory role. He also will transition to a strategic role for Corman, company officials said.

Prior coming to Corman, Lauritzen worked for 14 years at Big Ass Solutions, a Lexington, Kentucky-based manufacturer of fans, lights and controls for industrial, commercial and residential use.

At that company Lauritzen was vice president of manufacturing, VP of product management and VP of international business.

Advertisements

NS Names 2 as Vice Presidents

March 28, 2018

Norfolk Southern has named two new vice presidents, Michael R. McClellan and Claude E. “Ed” Elkins, effective April 1.

McClellan will become vice president strategic planning and report to NS CEO James A. Squares.

Elkins will become vice president industrial products and report to NS Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Alan H. Shaw.

McClellan joined Conrail’s general marketing and sales organization in 1985.

In 1998, he was named assistant vice president performance planning for Norfolk Southern, became vice president intermodal and automotive marketing in 2000, and vice president industrial products in 2013.

He holds an MBA from the University of Cincinnati and a degree in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia.

Elkins joined Norfolk Southern as a brakeman in 1988. After serving as a conductor and an engineer, he received a degree in English from Clinch Valley College of the University of Virginia (now the University of Virginia’s College at Wise).

He then joined the NS marketing department as pricing coordinator and subsequently served in positions in the intermodal and automotive group, and currently serves as group vice president industrial products.

Additionally, Elkins earned a master’s in business administration degree from Old Dominion University.

CSX Names New VP and Controller

March 21, 2018

Angela Williams has been named by CSX as vice president and corporate controller. She succeeds Andrew Glassman, who is leaving the company, but will remain through June 30 to assist the transition period of his successor.

Williams is currently CSX’s assistant controller and has served in various positions in the accounting department since joining the carrier in 2003

She is a certified public accountant and before coming to CSX worked at KPMG LLP and Winn-Dixie Stores.

“Angie’s depth of knowledge of our business and her strong accounting acumen will be invaluable as we continue to build momentum behind our strategy to become the best run railroad in North America,” said CSX Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Frank Lonegro in a statement.

CN Service Issues Led to CEO Ouster

March 15, 2018

Like CSX, Canadian National encountered service issues last year. Unlike at CSX, the Montreal-based CN decided that it needed more capital spending and to hire additional employees to resolve the problems. It also decided it needed a new CEO.

Speaking on Wednesday at the J.P. Morgan Aviation, Transportation & Industrials Conference, CN’s interim president and CEO said the railroad’s board of directors had been considering for several months replacing CEO Luc Jobin before ousting him last week.

“The board has been thinking long and hard about the leadership at CN,” said Jean-Jacques Ruest, who replaced Jobin. “They decided it was a time to make a change in leadership,” in order to bring more energy and a sense of urgency to fixing the railroad’s service problems, Ruest said.

In fairness, the services issues that CN faced had different roots than those at CSX.

Nonetheless, in commenting about CN’s dismissal of Jobin, Trains magazine noted that it is uncommon for a railroad to get rid of its CEO when the carrier faces a severe service crisis.

The magazine noted that in the past 25 years railroads have stood by their CEOs amid such situations as Union Pacific’s meltdown after acquiring Southern Pacific, the problems that persisted after CSX and Norfolk Southern divided Conrail, and BNSF’s congestion issues in 2013 and 2014.

CN’s woes began last fall when traffic surged by more than 20 percent in western Canada. The result was congestion on main lines and yards that left CN short of operating crews and motive power.

Further aggravating the situation was hard winter weather, derailments, and related line shutdowns that prompted CN to shorten, delay and detour trains.

That increased costs, lowered average train speeds and increased the time that cars spent in yards.

Ruest said the worst of the cold weather has ended and CN has begun to lengthen its trains.

CN management also decided to acquire additional locomotives, hire additional crews and increase track capacity in western Canada.

The added motive power will include 130 leased units and 200 new engines. The latter will be built between 2018 and 2020 and include GE Transportation ET44AC and ES44AC models.

Ruest said it’s likely that CN will see how the network is performing later this year before determining how to proceed as new motive power arrives.

He also said CN is seeking to perfect its traffic volume forecasting and capital planning process so as to avoid service problems again.

Ruest said CN still expects 2018 volume traffic growth of 3 to 5 percent and will continue its long-term strategy to collaborate with customers and grow faster than the overall North American economy.

“We have not changed strategy even though we have changed the CEO of the company,” Ruest said.

In the meantime the CN board is seeking a permanent CEO and many financial analysts expect Ruest to get the nod.

Jobin Abruptly Leaves as CN CEO

March 6, 2018

Canadian National CEO Luc Jobin has been ousted after two years in the position.

The Montreal-based Class 1 railroad did not give a specific reason why Jobin left other than to issue a statement that its board of directors “believes the company needs a leader who will energize the team, realize CN’s corporate vision and take the company forward with the speed and determination CN is known for.”

The board named Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jean-Jacques Ruest as interim president and CEO “until a permanent replacement is in place.”

Railway Age magazine quoted Cowen & Company Managing Director Jason Seidl as saying that Jobin’s abrupt departure “will no doubt leave investors with more questions than answers in the short term.”

Seidl said CN has what he termed “a deep management bench.” He expects Ruest to be respected by investors and customers alike and to likely become CN’s permanent CEO. Ruest has been at CN for 22 years.

“Investors have already had to endure a nearly 9 percent drop in CN’s shares this year, making it the worst performing Class I railroad year to date,” Seidl said. “Today’s news is likely to exacerbate this gap somewhat. However, we remain confident in the company’s ability to recover and deliver value to its shareholders over the long term. Indeed, CN has a long history of being one of the best performing railroads in North America with a laser focus on its customers. We do not believe this will change, but this may be little solace for those with shorter investment time horizons.”

Ex-CSX VP Lands Job at Union Pacific

January 29, 2018

A former CSX high-ranking executive who was forced out of her job as vice president and chief operations officer had handed a VP job with Union Pacific.

Sanborn

Cindy Sanborn, the first woman to hold a senior operating executive role at a Class I railroad,  was among three CSX executives who left the carrier last November during a management shakeup instituted by then-CEO E. Hunter Harrison.

Sanborn will become regional vice president transportation-western region at UP on Feb. 16.

She will replace the retiring Richard Castagna and lead rail operations in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico from a base in Roseville, California.

Sanborn had held various management positions during her 30 years at CSX.

NS Appoints VP of Law and Administration

January 25, 2018

John Scheib has been appointed by Norfolk Southern to serve as executive vice president of law and administration and chief legal officer.

John Scheib

The appointment will become effective March 1 when William Galanko will retire after working for the railroad for 28 years.

Scheib joined NS as an attorney in the law department in 2005. His previous positions in the department have included vice president law (2016) and senior vice president law and corporate relations (2017).

In his new role, Scheib will oversee law, government relations, corporate communications, human resources and labor relations.

Before joining NS, Scheib served as chief of staff and counsel to the chairman of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board and as counsel to the railroad subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Galanko joined NS in 1990 as a tax attorney and was named an officer of the company in 1999, when he was named vice president taxation. He subsequently served in several senior executive positions before being named executive vice president law and administration in 2017.

CSX to Require CEOs to Get Annual Exam

January 24, 2018

The board of directors of CSX has decided that henceforth all of its CEOs will have an annual visit with a doctor.

The board will adopt the policy change in the wake of the death of former CEO E. Hunter Harrison last month.

The health of the 72-year-old Harrison had been an issue when he was hired as CEO last spring.

Harrison was known to have health issues and the CSX board at the time insisted that his medical records be reviewed by an independent physician. But Harrison balked, saying that his doctor had cleared him to assume the CEO position.

The CSX board dropped its demand and Harrison took over the C suite at CSX in March.

Harrison died on Dec. 16 two days after taking a medical leave for unspecified health problems.

Railway Age magazine has reported that Harrison suffered from emphysema and it had been widely reported that he used supplemental oxygen.

Federal securities laws do not require companies to disclose executive health problems, but some firms provide that information because it might affect an investor’s decisions to buy or sell stock.

It is not uncommon for companies to be cagey about why their CEOs take medical leave.

United Continental Holdings, the parent company of United Airlines, for example disclosed that its CEO Oscar Munoz had been hospitalized but did not initially reveal in October 2015 that he had suffered a heart attack.

Munoz, who once headed CSX, underwent a transplant and returned to work the following year.

Thomas Flannery, managing partner at the executive search firm Boyden, described the matter of forcing an executive to share his or her medical history with a board of directors as a slippery slope because of privacy concerns. It could have a bigger downside than upside.

He said he encourages executives and their boards to be open about health problems and whether they affect the executive’s ability to fulfill his or her duties.

The CSX board plans to change its policy next month during a meeting, thus avoiding a vote on a resolution that was set to be introduced at the company’s annual meeting.

The policy will require the CEO to get a comprehensive physical performed by a medical provider chosen by the board, according to a letter submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

A CSX spokesman would not comment on the matter.

The shareholder vote had been proposed by John Fishwick, a Virginia attorney who owns 1,000 shares of CSX stock.

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.

What Now for CSX? Foote Seen by Analysts as Staying as CEO, at Least in the Short Term

December 19, 2017

It remains an open question whether James. M. Foote will lead CSX long term, but many analysts believe the CSX board of directors will keep him in the short term as acting CEO in order to provide stability.

Foote became the acting CEO last Thursday after CEO E. Hunter Harrison took a medical leave of absence for a still undisclosed illness. Harrison died at his Florida home on Saturday.

“I do expect Jim to be named CEO, although I also think the board will proactively study (and look to fill) any gaps in the team,” said Taylor Glasebrook, associate portfolio manager at Neuberger Berman, the No. 8 shareholder in CSX with 10.5 million shares.

“We believe that Mr. Foote’s presence in the senior leadership team provides an important source of continuity,” Cherilyn Radbourne, a TD Securities analyst, wrote in a note to clients.

But Radbourne also noted, as have others, that Foote lacks experience in operations, having spent most of his four decade railroad career in marketing and sales.

“Our biggest concern is that Mr. Foote’s primary area of expertise is sales and marketing versus operations, and the senior management team now lacks a member with an operating background,” Radbourne wrote.

“He is a competent, experienced railroader who is familiar with precision railroading,” said John Larkin, an analyst with Stifel Equity Research. “He has been in place for a couple of months and has a head start on any others. The company has underdone enough uncertainty over the past couple of years and needs some stability.”

What Harrison’s death means for CSX in the long term is being debated by railroad industry observers.

“Harrison’s legendary ability to redesign a rail network with his Precision Scheduled Railroading model created the two most efficient operations in North America and we believe his legacy will continue at CSX,” J.P. Morgan analyst Brian Ossenbeck wrote on Sunday.

But Renny Ponvert, CEO of Management CV Inc., which analyzes top hires for money managers, told The Wall Street Journal, that hiring Harrison “was a classic triumph of short-term thinking over long-term sustainability.”

Povert said the CSX board “took a high-beta risk that appeared to pay off for the first six months. Now, they’re stuck with a consequence that could expose long-term shareholders.”

Bloomberg columnist Brooke Sutherland summed up what happened in the lead to her story this way: “CSX Corp. shareholders paid $84 million for Hunter Harrison. They’re now getting James Foote.”

In January when word got out that Harrison and the Mantle Ridge hedge fund were targeting CSX, the company’s stock value jumped 23 percent in one day.

One news report said CSX stock value has risen 48 percent this year and about 6 percent since March when Harrison took over.

The stock value fell on Friday about 10 percent, but then stabilized. On Monday CSX stock value rose 1.25 percent to $53.42.

Investors will be looking to a January CSX announcement of its fourth quarter 2017 performance for clues as to what the company plans to do going forward.

CSX also plans to hold an investors conference next March. By then the board may have already named Foote the permanent CEO and hired a chief operating officer.

Before his death, Harrison had purged the top executive ranks of most CSX holdovers.

Most of that shakeup came in late October and also brought Foote to the company to oversee operations and marketing.

Harrison had also been bringing in former Canadian National managers who understand his precision scheduled railroading model.

During a series of “Hunter camps,” which were intensive seminars led by Harrison himself that explained the concepts of precision scheduled railroading, he had identified what he termed “rock stars” who showed promise of understanding the model and being able to implement it.

CSX has signaled that it intends to continue to operate on the PSR model but some analysts have been debating whether it has the management team it needs to continue to oversee it.

Foote contended last Friday before Harrison death that most of the work in implementing PSR has been done and CSX had the people in place to fine tune things.

Some believe Foote and the current CSX management team might be better suited than was Harrison to soothe relations with shippers and employees who were upset at the rapid pace of change that Harrison brought to CSX and which resulted in service issues during the summer and early fall.

Yet some continue to doubt that Foote is the long-term answer for CSX.

“Even though Jim Foote is a capable leader we do not see him as the long-term solution as the CEO given his strength is marketing and the company is embarking on an operations-focused turnaround,” Cowen and Co. analyst Jason Seidl said in a note.

There has also been speculation in the wake of Harrison’s death that some CSX shareholders might launch litigation against the CSX board for breach of duty for having hired a CEO they knew had health issues.

The board had initially demanded that Harrison submit his medical records for review by an independent physician.

Harrison refused and the board backed down after Harrison submitted a letter from his doctor saying he was fit for the job.

One news account quoted two unnamed corporate attorneys as saying it might be difficult to win such a lawsuit because of Harrison’s known medical condition.