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CSX Under Selling Pressure After CEO Hunter Harrison Takes Medical Leave

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CSX Under Selling Pressure After CEO Hunter Harrison Takes Medical Leave
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Shares of railroad operator CSX Corporation (NASDAQ: CSX) plunged Friday, reacting to the company's announcement late Thursday that its CEO Hunter Harrison is proceeding on medical leave due to unexpected complications arising out of a recent illness.

In early trading, CSX shares were down 7.7 percent to $52.90.

The company's release said the CEO role will be held on an interim basis by COO James Foote, who joined the company in late October.

Hunter, a veteran in the railroad sector, was appointed as CEO of CSX in early March, replacing then-CEO Michael Ward. Hunter had earlier worked with both Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (USA) (NYSE: CP) and Canadian National Railway (USA) (NYSE: CNI). He was supposed to have orchestrated a forced entry into CSX, in collusion with activist investor Paul Hilal.

CSX under Harrison implemented a turnaround plan, which has begun to bear fruit, with trains running faster and on-time arrivals improving. The stock reacted to the changes underway, with a gain of about 16 percent since Harrison assumed office.

Update: Around 2:50 pm. Dec. 16, Wall Street reported Harrison passed away. The company confirmed the news in a press release.

"His ability to rapidly pare railway budgets, speed up freight deliveries and challenge union-backed work rules at Illinois Central, Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. earned him many fans on Wall Street," WSJ's Jacquie McNish wrote. "Unions and customers frequently challenged his harsh tactics."

Related Links:

CSX: Back On Track?

CSX Enters The Hunter Harrison Era

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