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Rail News: CSX Transportation

CSX shakes up senior management team after Munoz resigns

CSX Corp. yesterday announced several senior management changes following the resignation of President and Chief Operating Officer Oscar Munoz, who has been appointed president and CEO of United Continental Holdings Inc.

Effective immediately, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Clarence Gooden will serve as president to oversee both operations and sales and marketing; EVP and Chief Financial Officer Fredrik Eliasson will assume the new role of EVP and chief sales and marketing officer; EVP of Operations Cindy Sanborn will become EVP and COO; and VP of Service Design Frank Lonegro will join the senior team as EVP and CFO.

"I look forward to leading this dynamic team, and have every confidence in our ability to deliver a compelling future for CSX," said Chairman and CEO Michael Ward in a press release. "I plan to leverage this team's leadership and tremendous skills in safety, customer service and efficiency as CSX executes its strategies to achieve ever-better levels of financial performance."

As the new leader of United Airlines, Munoz succeeds Jeff Smisek, who stepped down as chairman, president and CEO. Munoz has served on United's board since 2010 and Continental Airlines Inc.'s board since 2004.

Considered Ward's heir apparent, Munoz joined CSX in 2003 as EVP and CFO, and later became chief operations officer in 2012 and president earlier this year.

"We sincerely congratulate Oscar on his appointment to United and the opportunity to lead another outstanding transportation company," said Ward. "We all thank him for 12 years of dedicated and successful service to CSX."

Gooden has helped lead CSX's growth and value pricing efforts as EVP and CMO since 2004. During his more than 40-year CSX career, he has developed extensive experience in operations and sales/marketing.

Eliasson has helped develop and lead strategic initiatives, particularly in efficiency and capital allocation, since his appointment as EVP and CFO in 2012. A CSX veteran since 1995, he previously was VP of the chemicals and fertilizer business, VP of emerging markets, VP of commercial finance, and VP of financial planning and analysis.

Sanborn has helped lead CSX's operating performance and "service excellence" initiatives as EVP of operations. Since joining the Class I in 1987, she has held leadership positions of increasing responsibility in operations, including VP and chief transportation officer, and VP of the northern region.

Lonegro has helped shape and lead efficiency and capital strategies in positions of increasing responsibility since he joined CSX in 1999. He previously was president of CSX Technology, VP of mechanical, VP of internal audit and associate general counsel.

Munoz's departure leaves CSX in good shape since the remaining senior team members are railroaders with lots of relevant experience, said a Wall Street analyst — who asked to remain anonymous — in an email. Munoz is more of a general management executive who "grew up" in the soft drink and communications industries, the analyst said.

Over the next few years, CSX's board will have a chance to evaluate the younger officers — Eliasson, Sanborn and Lonegro — to see who distinguishes himself or herself, and the early edge might go to Eliasson since "he will have the most C-suite experience," the analyst believes.

Munoz was well regarded and the most logical successor to Ward, but the announced organizational structure will maintain continuity in operations and qualified internal potential successors remain in place, said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in a report issued this morning.

"We believe Ward's likely successor comes internally, though a small chance remains that a qualified candidate from outside the organization would be considered," they said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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