Railway executive Hunter Harrison dead, CSX Corporation confirms

Cornelia Mascio
Dicembre 16, 2017

CSX shares plunged 7.6% to 52.93 on Friday's stock market trading on word of his leave of absence, making it the biggest loser on the S&P 500 index that day.

CSX Corp., the American railroad Harrison began leading earlier this year, issued a statement on Saturday announcing his death. "Hunter was a larger-than-life figure who brought his remarkable passion, experience and energy in railroading to CSX", the company announced in a statement.

Railroad executive Hunter Harrison has died.

The railroad veteran was placed at the helm of CSX less than a year ago, and was set to be paid $300 million for his work.

In 1998, Canadian National bought Illinois Central - considered at the time to be the most efficient railway in North America - and Harrison was appointed CN's chief operating officer.

Harrison joined CSX last March after a proxy battle to unseat then-CEO Michael Ward.

Some speculated that Foote's hiring was a signal that Harrison would not honor the four-year contract, but he shot down those rumors. He was referring to executives like Foote. "And that's one of the steps in the succession".

CSX shares fell sharply on Thursday when the company announced Harrison was taking an unexpected leave of absence due to a medical condition.

"With the passing of Hunter Harrison, CSX has suffered a major loss", Chairman of the CSX Board of Directors Edward Kelly III said in a statement. Foote attempted to reassure investors that Precision Scheduled Railroad would continue unabated with a highly qualified team versed in Harrison's vision.

He gave up stock options and other compensation worth a total of $122.9 million to become CEO of CSX, a US competitor, although he was later reimbursed by CSX. "The Board will continue to consider in a deliberative way how best to maximize CSX's performance over the long term".

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