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Jax Daily Record Friday, Mar. 24, 201712:00 PM EST

Who changed the course of CSX


When then-CSX Chief Executive Officer Michael Ward decided to retire in February from Jacksonville’s iconic public company, it was as if he thrust the CSX board of directors into the engineer’s chair of a fast-moving train nearing a fork in the track.

Which way to go?

While Ward led the 30,000-employee company for 14 years as its commander-in-chief and public champion, the ultimate responsibility for the direction of the company — and which track to pursue — fell to the CSX board.

By late February, faced with the prospect of a highly public contentious fight resisting the demands of a private-equity investor known for disrupting railroad companies — Paul Hilal and his newly started Mantle Ridge Capital –– a majority of the 13-member board made its choice.

They opted to go along with Hilal and replace Ward with a railroad industry disrupter, 72-year-old Hunter Harrison.

Who were the board members who made this choice? See Page 3 for a snapshot of the people who this month changed the course of CSX.

CSX Board

Before the change in leadership at CSX Corp., the company directors’ average age was 66. Seven of the directors were retired CEOs; three were active CEOs, including outgoing CSX CEO Michael Ward.

Not including Ward, only one had railroad operating experience, and only one was from Jacksonville, Steve Halverson, CEO of The Haskell Co.

With the new board, the average age drops to 64, and now three directors have railroad experience — new CEO Hunter Harrison; Mantle Ridge founder Paul Hilal; and John McPherson, former president of Florida East Coast Railway.



Donna Alvarado
Age: 68
Joined board: 2006
Title: Founder and president of business consulting firm Aguila International.
Former chair of the Ohio Board of Regents. Appointed by President Ronald Reagan to lead the federal civic engagement and volunteerism agency ACTION from 1985-89.
Expertise: Policy experience in public and private sectors

John Breaux
Age: 73
Joined board: 2005
Title: Partner in the Breaux-Lott Leadership Group, a private consulting firm in Washington, D.C., owned by Squire Patton Boggs. Represented Louisiana for 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and 18 years in the U.S. Senate.
Expertise: Public policy, legislation and regulatory experience

Pamela Carter
Age: 67
Joined board: 2010
Title: Retired in 2015 as vice president of Cummins Inc. and president of Cummins Distribution Business. In 1983 elected attorney general in Indiana.
Expertise: Operational experience and regulatory, legal and public policy matters

Steve Halverson
Age: 62
Joined board: 2006
Title: CEO of The Haskell Co. and director for Guidewell Insurance and Florida Blue. Past chair of Florida Chamber of Commerce, Construction Industry Roundtable and Jacksonville Civic Council.
Expertise: Construction industry, economics and leadership

Edward Kelly III
Age: 63
Joined board: 2002
Title: Retired in 2014 as chairman of the Institutional Clients Group at Citigroup. Previously vice chairman of PNC Financial Services Group and director for The Hartford Financial Services Group and The Hershey Co.
Expertise: Global finance, governance and regulatory experience

John McPherson
Age: 70
Joined board: 2008
Title: Retired in 2007 as president and COO of Florida East Coast Railway. Former CEO of Illinois Central Railroad. Former director for Las Vegas Railway Express and TTX Co.
Expertise: Railroad operations

David Moffett
Age: 65
Joined board: 2015
Title: Retired in 2009 as CEO and director of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. Serves as a trustee of the University of Oklahoma Foundation and Columbia Funds mutual fund complex. Former vice chairman and CFO of U.S. Bancorp and former director of eBay Inc.
Expertise: Corporate finance and public policy

J. Steven Whisler
Age: 62
Joined board: 2011
Title: Retired in 2007 as chairman and CEO of Phelps Dodge Corp. Former director for U.S. Airways Group and Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
Expertise: Railroad safety programs


Hunter Harrison
Age: 72
Joined board: 2017
Title: CEO, CSX Corp. Former president and CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway Limited and Canadian Pacific Railway Co. and former CEO of Canadian National Railway Co.
Expertise: Leadership in the rail industry

Paul Hilal
Age: 50
Joined board: 2017
Title: Founder and managing partner of Mantle Ridge GP LLC. Former partner and senior investment professional at Pershing Square Capital Management and director of Canadian Pacific Railroad.
Expertise: Railroad industry, corporate finance and performance analysis

Dennis Reilly
Age: 63
Joined board: 2017
Title: Founding member and partner of Trian Advisory Partners and chairman of Marathon Oil Corp. Former chairman, president and CEO of Praxair Inc. and former director of H.J. Heinz Co. and the American Chemistry Council.
Expertise: Finance, governance and operations

Linda Riefler
Age: 55
Joined board: 2017
Title: Director of investment analysis firm MSCI Inc. Former chairman of global research, chief talent officer and managing director for Morgan Stanley.
Expertise: Corporate strategy, debt and equity financing

John Zillmer
Age: 61
Joined board: 2017
Title: Director of private equity firm Liberty Capital Partners; member of the CVC Capital Partners North American Advisory Board and director of Ecolab and Performance Food Group. Former CEO of Univar and Allied Waste Industries.
Expertise: Labor relations, environmental safety and logistics


David Ratcliffe
Age: 68
Joined board: 2003
Title: Retired in 2010 as chairman, president and CEO of Southern Co. Former president and CEO of Georgia Power. Board member for GRA Venture Fund LLC, Georgia Research Alliance and Centers for Disease Control Foundation.
Expertise: Regulatory and public policy

Donald Shepard
Age: 70
Joined board: 2003
Title: Retired in 2008 as chairman and CEO of AEGON. Director of U.S. Chamber of Commerce and former director of Mercantile Bancshares Corp.
Expertise: Financial and risk management

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