CSX: Harrison out on medical leave; Foote in as acting CEO

Rodiano Bonacci
Dicembre 16, 2017

CSX Corp. shares fell 12% early Friday, erasing almost $6 billion in market value, after Chief Executive Hunter Harrison was placed on medical leave, highlighting the risk the railroad's board took when it agreed to hire the 73-year-old railroad veteran despite the emergence of unspecified medical problems earlier in the year.

James Foote, who was named CSX's chief operating officer in late October, was appointed acting CEO. Harrison and CSX's management team have made a lot of progress in implementing precision scheduled railroading (PSR), the operating model he's now driving at CSX, said Foote.

Mr. Foote declined to discuss details of Mr. Harrison's condition, but said "he continues to improve every day". Harrison occasionally uses an oxygen tank, but has insisted he is healthy enough for the job.

Harrison, who is in his early 70s, was hired by CSX in March after several years leading Canada's two biggest railways-Montreal-based Canadian National and Calgary-based Canadian Pacific.

Yesterday, the Surface Transportation Board sent a letter to CSX inviting Foote to meet with board members and requesting a detailed update on the ongoing PSR implementation and service restoration. The company awarded - and investors approved - Mr. Harrison a four-year contract, which included an $84 million payment.

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