After just a little more than a week on the job as acting CEO at CSX, Jim Foote has been named the Jacksonville railroad's new leader.
Friday CSX announced the company's board of directors unanimously voted to name Foote as the company’s president and chief executive officer, replacing Hunter Harrison.
Harrison, 73, died Saturday "due to unexpectedly severe complications from a recent illness,” according to a statement from CSX after going on medical leave several days earlier.
“While we continue to mourn the loss of Hunter Harrison, the Board of Directors is pleased to announce Jim Foote as his successor. Jim has decades of railroading experience and the Board is confident of his ability to lead the company. He has already had a markedly positive impact. The Board looks forward to working with him,” said CSX Chairman Edward J. Kelly in a statement.
Foote has more than 40 years of railroad industry experience in finance, operations, sales and marketing. He was named CSX's executive vice president and chief operating officer in October.
“I worked alongside Hunter for over a decade and his pioneering approach to railroading unlocked significant efficiencies and value, and we remain focused on delivering on this vision for CSX, our customers and our shareholders. The execution of Precision Scheduled Railroading is well underway, with the most critical components of the implementation completed and beginning to generate measurable operating improvement,” Foote said in a statement.
Harrison had joined CSX following former CEO Michael Ward’s retirement this past spring.
Ward had originally planned to work through 2019, but he and some other executives left after a push to bring Harrison aboard by Paul Hilal's Mantle Ridge hedge fund.
CSX also went through a recent “involuntary separation with 1,000 workers,” the majority of which were in the Jacksonville corporate office and its subsidiaries earlier this year. In 2016, CSX cut 2,500 workers as coal shipping declined.
“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.