CSX CEO Harrison dies days after medical leave announced
CSX CEO Harrison dies days after medical leave announced
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Chief Executive Hunter Harrison
18 December, 2017, 23:08
Widely regarded as one of the most influential North American railroaders in recent years, Harrison forged a long career at Illinois Central and Canadian National before being coaxed out of retirement in 2012 to turn around Canadian Pacific Railway at the behest of activist shareholders.
CSX Corp Chief Executive Hunter Harrison has died, the freight railway operator said on Saturday, just a few days after announcing that the veteran rail executive hired earlier this year to boost its profits had taken a medical leave of absence.
Harrison's death, announced on Saturday, came just eight months into his dramatic restructuring campaign created to boost profits and streamline operations through cost cuts and operational changes.
Harrison joined CSX in March this year to replace former CEO Michael Ward, who had been head of the company since 2003.
In a December 14 letter to CSX President and Chief Executive Officer E. Hunter Harrison, the board asked for a report on the company's progress since the STB held a "public listening session" in October to hear from shippers and stakeholders that have complained about CSX's service problems.
Acting CSX Corp Chief Executive Officer James Foote said on Friday he would run the No. 3 US railroad in same manner as Hunter Harrison while its famed top executive is on medical leave due to an unspecified illness.
CSX investors cheered Harrison's performance, sending shares up about 60 per cent in this year through December 14, hours before his medical leave was disclosed. Jim Foote was named acting CEO. "It will be an important call for them to update the market on current operating trends and to provide 2018 guidance".
In November, Harrison stopped short of laying out a succession plan for the company but said he was "trying to stay back a little bit" to give his management team space to steer through a major operations overhaul.
Foote's hiring was announced in late October following the resignations of Chief Operating Officer Cindy Sanborn and Chief Marketing Officer Fredrik Eliasson.
The company's shares were marginally down at $52.58.
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