James Foote joining the company as chief operating officer.
CSX Corp. announced sweeping changes Wednesday in its executive suite, bringing in a new chief operating officer and announcing that three top executives who predated new CEO Hunter Harrison are leaving.
The Jacksonville-based railroad company said Executive Vice Presidents Cindy Sanborn and Fredrik Eliasson are resigning and Ellen Fitzsimmons is retiring, all effective Nov. 15.
Previous CEO Michael Ward had said Sanborn and Eliasson could be in line to succeed him when he retired. However, succession plans changed when Harrison began pursuing the job last winter.
Harrison was named chief executive in March, and Ward and then-President Clarence Gooden retired.
The departures of Sanborn, Eliasson and Fitzsimmons mean Harrison has cleared out most of Ward’s old management team.
The only top executive remaining is Frank Lonegro, who was appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer in 2015 and has been with CSX for more than 15 years.
CSX said James Foote is joining the company as chief operating officer, which had been Sanborn’s role. Foote will also assume Eliasson’s responsibilities for sales and marketing.
The company said Foote has more than 40 years of railroad industry experience, most recently as president and chief executive officer of Bright Rail Energy.
CSX also said Nathan Goldman, vice president of risk compliance and general counsel, will be promoted to executive vice president and take over Fitzsimmons’ roles as chief legal officer and corporate secretary.
A week ago when CSX announced quarterly earnings, Harrison told analysts in a conference call that the company did not have a succession plan in place. Harrison’s contract as CEO runs until 2021.
Harrison said the company may announce more details about succession at a two-day conference with analysts scheduled to begin Sunday in Palm Beach.
However, late Thursday afternoon CSX said it is postponing the conference.
“Our team continues to build momentum and the addition of Jim increases my confidence in our ability to serve customers and deliver shareholder value,” Harrison said in the news release.
“I am more confident than ever in CSX’s ability to achieve industry leading operating and financial performance and look forward to showcasing our leadership team at a future date,” he said.
CSX did not announce a new date for the conference.