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Marino retires, ending 18-year reign as RailAmerica's leader


RailAmerica Inc.'s leader since its 1986 inception and 1992 initial public offering is leaving the short-line holding company he co-founded. On April 7, President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Marino announced he's retiring immediately.

Marino, 59, had served as RailAmerica chairman from 1992 until last month, when he was replaced by William Pagonis. Marino has served as CEO since 1994 and president since 1996.

During his tenure, RailAmerica grew from a private company owning one short line and earning $1 million in annual revenues, to a public company owning 47 regionals and short lines, and earning $360 million in annual revenue. At one time, RailAmerica owned more than 50 small roads, including stakes in an Australian and Chilean railroad.

"With the recent execution of an agreement to sell Freight Australia, my work at RailAmerica is now complete," said Marino in a prepared statement. "I enjoyed tremendously helping to build RailAmerica over the last 18 years, [and] I expect to now have time to pursue other projects that interest me and to focus on other personal priorities."

In 1986, Marino and his brother John formed RailAmerica after acquiring the Huron and Eastern Railway Co. Between 1984 and 1993, he served as chairman, president and CEO of venture capital investment firm Boca Raton Capital Corp. Prior to 1984, Marino held various commercial banking positions for more than 15 years, including senior loan officer, bank president, and president and CEO of two small business investment companies.

RailAmerica named Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Don Redfearn acting president. The company plans to begin searching for a new president and CEO, said Pagonis.

"I will be actively involved in helping manage the company," he said, adding that Redfearn, EVP and Chief Financial Officer Michael Howe, and Chief Operating Officer Joe Conklin will serve as the firm's interim management team. "Gary has been a dedicated leader of RailAmerica since the company was founded and has achieved a long list of enviable accomplishments. We thank him for his dedicated service and wish him well in his future endeavors."

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More News from 4/8/2004