CSX Corp. announced Sept. 15 that James Foote will retire as president and CEO on Sept. 26 and be succeeded by former Ford Motor Co. executive Joseph Hinrichs.
Jacksonville-based CSX said the change in leadership is part of a planned succession process.
Analysts have speculated about his eventual successor, focusing on possible internal candidates. But Foote consistently deflected questions about it.
“This appointment is the result of a long and deliberate process, in which we identified the strongest candidate to lead CSX through its next phase of growth and transformation,” CSX Chairman John Zillmer said in a news release.
“The Board believes that Joe is a seasoned leader with the relevant experience to lead CSX forward with our full support,” he said.
Hinrichs, 55, served in several executive positions at Ford from 2009 to 2020, most recently as president of its automotive operations.
“Joe’s great strength is operational excellence. He enabled Ford to execute world-class manufacturing on a global scale, including prioritizing exceptional customer service,” Zillmer said.
“My focus on day one will be to continue to execute on the strategy the team has identified: leveraging CSX’s proven operating model as a leader in the railroad industry, to drive growth through innovation, harness transformative technology and build a one-team workforce through an engaging and inclusive culture,” Hinrichs said in the news release.
The succession announcement came just hours after President Joe Biden announced an agreement between major U.S. railroads and labor unions to avert a rail strike, which would have started Sept. 16.