Railway executive Hunter Harrison dead at 73

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Hunter Harrison, the plain-spoken, gruff American who rewrote the Canadian railroading e book throughout his years heading each of this nation’s largest railways, has died. He was 73.

CSX Corp., the American railroad Harrison started main earlier this 12 months, issued an announcement on Saturday saying his dying.

The corporate attributed his dying to “unexpectedly extreme issues from a latest sickness,” the identical purpose supplied when Harrison formally went on medical go away earlier this week.

“All the CSX household mourns this loss. On behalf of our Board of Administrators, administration group and workers, we lengthen our deepest sympathies to Hunter’s household,” CSX mentioned within the assertion.

“Hunter was a larger-than-life determine who introduced his exceptional ardour, expertise and vitality in railroading to CSX.”

Ewing Hunter Harrison was born in Memphis, Tenn., on Nov. 7, 1944, and started his railroad profession in 1964 as a 19-year-old rail automobile oiler for the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway whereas attending Memphis State College.

His modest begin gave no trace that he would ultimately function the CEO of 4 main railroads: Chicago-based Illinois Central Railroad, Montreal-based Canadian Nationwide Railway, Calgary-based Canadian Pacific Railway and Jacksonville, Fla., railway CSX Corp.

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Harrison joined the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1980 when it bought the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, and he was ultimately promoted to vice-president of transportation and repair design.

Harrison left Burlington Northern in 1989 to turn into chief working officer at Illinois Central Railroad, rising to president and CEO in 1993. There, he was credited with initiating scheduled service for freight, a revolutionary idea for the business.

In 1998, Canadian Nationwide purchased Illinois Central — thought-about on the time to be probably the most environment friendly railway in North America — and Harrison was appointed CN’s chief working officer.

He grew to become CEO of CN in 2003, succeeding Paul Tellier, and served in that place till his retirement on the finish of 2009. He moved to his property in Connecticut, the place he raised and skilled horses for present leaping.

Within the fall of 2011, Harrison was approached by activist investor Invoice Ackman, head of hedge fund Pershing Sq. Capital Administration, and enlisted to assist with a proxy battle at CP Rail. After successful the essential vote on the annual shareholder assembly in 2012, Ackman appointed Harrison as CEO, changing Fred Inexperienced.

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In early 2017, Harrison abruptly resigned from CP, 5 months sooner than scheduled.

He gave up inventory choices and different compensation price a complete of $122.9 million to turn into CEO of CSX, a U.S. competitor, though he was later reimbursed by CSX.

All through his profession, Harrison was adored by retail buyers who rewarded his cost-cutting and a spotlight to creating the trains run as effectively as attainable by bidding increased on the shares of the railroads he headed.

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As an illustration, CSX shares plunged practically 10 per cent on Dec. 15, the morning after it introduced he was taking medical go away and could be quickly changed by chief working officer Jim Foote.

Unions have been enraged by the 1000’s of job reductions he ordered. They usually complained security was compromised when he ordered managers and workplace employees at CP Rail be skilled in order that they might drive locomotives if union members went out on strike.

Institutional buyers complained his compensation and perks have been extreme and CP Rail moved to scale them again after he left.

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“Hunter constructed a robust basis for fulfillment at CP in our precision railroading working mannequin — we proceed to construct on that basis,” mentioned Keith Creel, Harrison’s hand-picked successor at CP Rail, in an announcement on Dec. 15.

“He led a transformational turnaround at CP, serving to restore an iconic firm again to its rightful place amongst leaders within the Class 1 house.”

Foote — who labored with Harrison for 11 years at CN Rail and joined him at CSX in mid-2017 — mentioned Harrison’s optimistic affect on CSX’s efficiency would proceed with out him.

“I consider that the battleship has turned… As a result of the group has carried out a basis in step with Hunter’s imaginative and prescient, I don’t see any purpose to decrease our expectations in regards to the tempo and magnitude of our future progress,” he mentioned in an announcement on Dec. 14.

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