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Pink slips and red-letter days: RailAmerica cuts staff, promotes five execs


A soft U.S. economy and drought-plagued Australian grain market have put the squeeze on RailAmerica Inc.'s revenue throughout 2002. To bounce back, the short-line holding company aims to reduce its 2,800-workforce by 145 and implement several cost-saving initiatives to save more than $10 million in pre-tax dollars next year.

On Dec. 3, the company announced plans to cut both corporate and operating positions in the United States and Australia by year end, resulting in an after-tax fourth-quarter charge of about $2 million.

RailAmerica also recently identified ways to reduce operating and administrative expenses, and plans to implement changes by month's end.

"We felt that in order to ensure that we were as streamlined and efficient as possible, we had to do a top-to-bottom operational and headcount review, which included some difficult decisions with respect to personnel," said Gary Marino, RailAmerica chairman, president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement.

Although planned staff reductions headlined RailAmerica's news, the company also noted several promotions:

• Vice President and Treasurer Michael Howe was named senior vice president and chief financial officer, succeeding Bennett Marks, who recently left the company;

• Vice President of Financial Planning Larry Bush was named vice president and treasurer;

• Assistant Vice President of Administration Wayne August was named vice president of administration and investor relations;

• Vice President International Operations Peter Turrell was named senior vice president-international rail group; and

• Vice President and General Counsel-Real Estate Scott Williams was named senior vice president and general counsel.

"It's always difficult to make personnel reductions, but we have a deep management team and we believe it was time to promote those who have demonstrated great ability," said Donald Redfearn, RailAmerica executive vice president and chief administrative officer

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/4/2002