Veteran railroader and long-time Hunter Harrison and Jim Foote colleague Edmond L. Harris has come out of retirement a second time to head operations at CSX.
As executive vice president operations, he has responsibility for mechanical, engineering, transportation and network operations. His appointment is effective immediately.
Harris has more than 40 years’ experience in the railroad industry in an operating capacity, including nearly two decades at the Illinois Central and CN, “where he worked closely with Hunter Harrison to transform the traditional operating models of both railroads to Precision Scheduled Railroading models,” CSX said.
He ultimately served as Executive Vice President Operations until his retirement from CN in 2007. He became an independent rail industry consultant, but eventually re-emerged at Canadian Pacific (CP), where he served as Chief Operations Officer.
He retired from CP after only 11 months, citing health reasons, but subsequently joined the CP Board prior to Pershing Square Management’s hostile takeover in 2012, when Hunter Harrison was installed as CEO. Harris and former CSX COO Tony Ingram were installed as CP directors in December 2011, reportedly as a concession to Pershing Square head William Ackman, but Ackman proceeded anyway with his successful proxy battle, calling Harris’s and Ingram’s board appointments “too little, too late.”
Harris left the CP board in mid-2012, amid reports of tensions with Hunter Harrison.
Prior to joining CSX, Harris served as a senior advisor to Global Infrastructure Partners, an independent fund that invests in infrastructure assets worldwide; chairman of Omnitrax Rail Network; and board director for Universal Rail Services.
He has also consulted with Rio Tinto in Australia and Cosan Industries in Brazil. Harris began his career with Illinois Central in operations alongside Hunter Harrison, Following CN’s acquisition of Illinois Central, a transaction that led to Hunter Harrison’s appointment as CN chief executive, he held leadership positions alongside Jim Foote, CSX’s current President and CEO.
“I am thrilled to have Ed join the CSX team and believe his railroading experience, including nearly a decade working closely with me at CN, will be invaluable in achieving our ultimate goal of establishing CSX as the best railroad in North America,” Foote said. “Ed joins an already strong and diversified leadership team at CSX that is focused on creating value for our customers and shareholders through operational excellence and the continued implementation of the new operating plan.”
“The pace of transformation that CSX has accomplished in such a short period of time has been remarkable and I am excited to get to work,” said Harris. “Similar to Jim, I have spent many years implementing the scheduled railroading operating plan and I am confident that I can make an immediate contribution to CSX’s commitment to delivering value to all stakeholders.”