A ruling is expected in January on whether a lawsuit by a trio of CSX shareholders who have sued the carrier’s board over the hiring of late CEO E. Hunter Harrison in 2017 can advance, the Florida Times-Union reports.
E. Hunter Harrison became CEO of CSX in March 2017.
The 72-year-old Harrison sought an $84 million financial package when brought aboard from Canadian Pacific to lead the Jacksonville, Fla.,-based carrier in March 2017. Harrison began implementing his Precision Scheduled Railroad (PSR) strategy at CSX, resulting in reports of service disruption that led to a hearing before the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB).
Harrison died at age 73 in December, nine months after his hiring and just two days after the carrier had placed him on medical leave.
“CSX board failed to properly vet Harrison’s medical condition before agreeing to his demands involving compensation, reimbursement arrangements to be made with Mantle Ridge, and the addition of conflicted Board members,” the lawsuit claims. “Knowing that Harrison’s demands were extraordinary and outrageous, couple with their overriding fears concerning Harrison’s poor health, the Board resolved to see guidance from its shareholders and called a special meeting to do so.”
However, the lawsuit claims, after being influenced by CSX minority shareholder Mantle Ridge, the carrier’s board went ahead with the hiring and took the decision out of shareholders’ hands.
“Instead of taking proper steps to protect CSX and offload some of the financial risk of Harrison’s hiring, the board instead approved and disseminated false and misleading proxy statements to shareholders, and in doing so ensured that the outcome of the shareholder vote regarding the reimbursement arrangement was predetermined to favor Harrison and Mantle Ridge…” the lawsuit states.
More than 90 percent of CSX shareholders voted to support the reimbursements at the annual shareholder meeting in June.
“CSX’s Board knew about, hid and outright deceived shareholders about Harrison’s ill health and physical infirmities,” the lawsuit states.
The shareholders’ suit was originally filed in April 2018, dropped and then re-filed in mid-July. If Judge Kevin Blazs of Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit Court rules in favor of the shareholders, their lawsuit could move ahead to a jury trial, the Times-Union reported.
CSX CEO E. Hunter Harrison, 73, has died just two days after CSX announced that he was going on medical leave due to complications from an illness.
CSX’s chairman of the board of directors, Edward J. Kelly III said on behalf of the board: “With the passing of Hunter Harrison, CSX has suffered a major loss. Notwithstanding that loss, the board is confident that Jim Foote, as acting chief executive officer, and the rest of the CSX team will capitalize on the changes that Hunter has made. The board will continue to consider in a deliberative way how best to maximize CSX’s performance over the long term.”
The Chicago Tribune reported that Hunter Harrison, CEO of CSX, is at it again – killing jobs and rolling over safety measures to increase profits that benefit only a select few.
According to the report, more than 60 engineers, conductors and switchmen at Barr Yard in Chicago have been furloughed, fueling speculation that the Chicago yard may soon close.
John Risch, SMART TD national legislative director was quoted for the story:
“There’s one person to blame, and it’s E. Hunter Harrison,” Risch said. “He’s the guy that plunged into this thing forcefully and just decided to make major changes, and they’re not very well thought through.”’
In a letter dated August 3, that was emailed to CSX CEO Hunter Harrison, SMART TD general chairpersons batted down Harrison’s claims that workers are at the root of service disruptions.
General Chairpersons Steve Mavity (GO 049), John Whitaker (GO 851), Dale Barnett (GO 513), James Darby (GO AWP) and Travis Raynes (GO 201) wrote:
“Our members, the ballast line employees, rightfully take your comments as a personal attack on their professionalism. They have worked through numerous operational challenges and changes to their work routines. Despite harsh treatment, furloughs and repeated violations of their collective bargaining agreements, it has not deterred the employees from fulfilling their duties.”
Click here to read the letter sent to E. Hunter Harrison on behalf of our CSX membership.
RailwayAge.com reported that data released from a recent CSX customer survey shows that more than eighty percent of customer participants have experienced problems with CEO Hunter Harrison’s ‘Precision Railroading’ plan. Many CSX customers have already left and many more are considering leaving.
Trains.com recently reported that an attorney in Roanoke, Virginia is on a one-man mission to rally CSX shareholders to vote down CEO E. Hunter Harrison’s bid to line his pockets with an extra 84 million dollars as compensation for voluntarily leaving the helm at Canadian Pacific earlier than planned. Read the complete article here.