Norfolk Southern Corp. said its CEO will retire next spring, and it will promote one of its executives to replace him.
The railroad said Thursday that Jim Squires will step down as chairman and CEO on May 1 after seven years of leading Norfolk Southern. Chief Marketing Officer Alan Shaw has been promoted to president, and he will take over as CEO when Squires leaves.
During Squires' tenure, the railroad overhauled its operations to cut costs and run its trains on more of a set schedule with fewer stops and pickups. The new Precision Scheduled Railroading operating model the industry has adopted also lengthened trains significantly, which allows Norfolk Southern and the other major railroads to operate with fewer employees and locomotives because they have reduced the total number of trips.
Over the past 18 months, the railroad also dealt with a sharp drop in shipments during the first half of last year when the pandemic hit followed by a dramatic rebound in the second half of 2020 when many businesses reopened. Norfolk Southern said in late October that it is on track to deliver at least 12% growth in revenue this year as the economy continues to recover.
Board member Steven Leer said Squires established a “strong foundation for continued success” at the railroad.
Shaw has worked for the railroad for 27 years in a variety of jobs including operations, marketing and finance positions.
“He’s a veteran railroader who understands operations and will drive continued improvement in service and efficiency,” Squires said.
The Norfolk, Virginia-based company is one of the nation’s largest railroads, and it operates about 19,500 miles of track in 22 Eastern states and the District of Columbia.