Name: HR 1748 Safe Freight act
Employed as: Conductor, for 10-20 years
Posted: 27 July 2020
Norfolk Southern names Cindy Sanborn chief operating officer (updated)
By Bill Stephens | July 27, 2020
RELATED TOPICS: CLASS 1 FREIGHT RAILROADS | PEOPLE | OPERATIONS |
NORFOLK SOUTHERN | UNION PACIFIC | CSX
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NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk Southern today named Union Pacific executive
Cindy Sanborn as its chief operating officer, a position she also held
at CSX Transportation.
Sanborn was one of the first women in the industry to hold an
executive-level operations position. She spent 30 years at CSX, where
she rose through the ranks and ultimately became its top operating
official. She was named the railroad’s chief transportation officer in
CSX on Oct. 25, 2017 announced that its top operations, marketing, and
legal officers would depart. Such a one-day sweep of top executives was
unprecedented, rail historians say. E. Hunter Harrison, then CSX’s chief
executive, brought in former Canadian National colleague Jim Foote to
head both operations and the sales and marketing teams.
Sanborn, who comes from a railroad family, in January 2018 was named
regional vice president of transportation for UP’s Western Region. She
moved into the new role the following month. She most recently served
as vice president, network planning at UP and previously oversaw all
activities in the railroad’s Northern Region.
“Norfolk Southern is combining Precision Scheduled Railroading with a
superior service product to create long term value for shareholders,”
Sanborn said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the NS
management team to build on the momentum that’s already well under
She will begin leading operations at NS on Sept. 1.
“When we began the search for our next chief operating officer, we
looked for an experienced executive who could lead our operations and
build on our successful implementation of precision-scheduled
railroading. We are proud to welcome Cindy Sanborn, one of the freight
rail industry’s leading operations experts, to the Norfolk Southern
team as we work together to lower our operating ratio and deliver
shareholder value,” CEO Jim Squires said in a statement.
Sanborn replaces Mike Wheeler, who will retire Oct. 1 after a 35-year
career at NS.
“It has been a privilege to be a part of Norfolk Southern and I am
proud of all that we have accomplished, especially over the last few
years,” Wheeler said in a statement. “I am confident in the future
success of Norfolk Southern and look forward to working closely with
Cindy to ensure a seamless handoff of leadership responsibilities.”
Independent analyst Anthony B. Hatch Sanborn’s hiring “sort of wild,”
noting it is unusual for a top executive to move among three big
Yet four of the seven Class I systems – CN, CSX, NS, and UP – now have
chief operating officers who came from other railroads.
“The old kind of boundaries have been broken down,” Hatch says. “In a
tradition-bound industry, this is or was the most tradition-bound
railroad – for good and bad.”
Sanborn, who is well respected in the industry, knows NS better than a
typical outsider because of her career at eastern rival CSX, Hatch
NS has long promoted from within, but Squires has been increasingly
looking outside the company for executives. It’s the first time the
company has hired an outsider as its chief operating officer.
Sanborn’s appointment to a C-suite position at NS is the second
executive hired from outside the railroad in the past year. Chief
Financial Officer Mark George joined NS last year from United
Mike Farrell, who has experience at Canadian Pacific, Canadian
National, and Union Pacific, was named senior vice president of
operations in 2018 after a stint working for NS as a consultant. And
Vanessa Allen Sutherland, who joined NS in 2018, was named executive
vice president and chief legal officer