CSX Corp. named a new Chief Operating Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and General Counsel, and at the same time cancelled a shareholder conference call and announced a $1.5 billion stock buyback.
The company delivered another blow to shippers by withdrawing from its previous commitment to contribute one third of the $425 million it would have cost to raise a tunnel to allow double stack service to enter Baltimore.
“Given the operating changes that CSX’s new leadership team has made over the last several months, and upon an updated evaluation, we determined that the Howard Street Tunnel project proposal no longer justifies the level of investment required from CSX and our public partners at this time,” the company stated.
CSX named James M. Foote as Chief Operating Officer, who assumes the responsibilities of COO Cindy M. Sanborn as well as those of Fredrik J. Eliasson, who was chief sales and marketing officer. Both of them have left the company.
CSX also reported that Ellen M. Fitzsimmons, executive vice president, law and public affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary, has retired. Nathan D. Goldman, former vice-president, risk compliance and general counsel, will replace her.
Foote joins CSX as COO from Bright Rail Energy, where he served as president. He has 40 years of railroad experience, including having served under Harrison at Canadian National as executive vice-president, sales and marketing.
Foote, who is 63, will support the 73-year-old CEO Harrison, who seemed unsteady in recent public appearances. (AA, 10-31-17, P. 1).
CSX says the $1.5 billion stock buyback plan will strengthen the company and bouy its stock price. Some critics have argued that it is intended to allow large shareholders to cash out.