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Genesee & Wyoming: Brown to succeed Benz as COO


Yesterday, Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWI) named David Brown chief operating officer to succeed James Benz, who plans to retire in first-quarter 2013.

For the remainder of 2012, Brown will try to become familiar with the company’s diverse operations, including those in Australia, and Brown and Benz will work closely to ensure a smooth transition, GWI officials said in a prepared statement. Following the transition period, Brown will be responsible for GWI’s 10 operating regions in North America, Australia and Europe.

Brown most recently was executive vice president and COO for CSX Transportation. Prior to that, he was the Class I’s chief transportation officer. Brown previously served Norfolk Southern Railway for 25 years in roles ranging from strategic planning to the integration of the Conrail acquisition.

In 1987, Benz founded Rail Link Inc., which GWI acquired in 1996. Over the ensuing nine years, he built Rail Link into the company’s largest operating region, according to GWI. He became COO in 2005.

“Both Jim and David have extraordinary track records of success in railroad operations, and we will benefit from a long overlap in the transition to Jim’s retirement,” said GWI President and Chief Executive Officer Jack Hellmann.

GWI owns and operates 65 regionals and short lines in the United States, Australia, Canada, Netherlands and Belgium.