Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ward Says CSX Is Aligned to Get Back on Track

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ward Says CSX Is Aligned to Get Back on Track

Article excerpt

Byline: GREGORY RICHARDS, The Times-Union

From his office perched atop CSX Corp.'s Water Street headquarters, Chairman and CEO Michael Ward wages a daily fight: Getting freight away from trucks and onto the railcars of CSX, the country's third biggest railroad. After leading his first annual shareholders meeting in Jacksonville Wednesday morning, Ward shared with the Times-Union his thoughts on how the railroad performed last year and where it's headed.

Q: You've brought in new top leaders, reshaped the management structure and last week unveiled a new program to reconfigure how CSX routes and schedules its trains. Are any more big steps needed to turn CSX around?

I think at this point we have a lot of the foundational pieces in place to really make some great progress. We've got the right leadership team, we have some great plans to improve our service and our costs, we've got an organization that's much more nimble and more responsive. So really now it's more a matter of execution . . . than coming up with -- if you will -- another grand program.

Q: Since being named CSX's chairman and CEO in January 2003, what are you most proud of? What could you have done better?

I was really proud of the progress we were making in 2001 and 2002. During that period, we were improving our safety, we were improving our service, we were growing the business, we were increasing our profits -- all the things were moving in the direction we would want them to move. We did have some challenges last year . . . So I'd say I was a little disappointed in our performance last year. But I think over the last six to nine months we have set the foundation for another really nice run.

Q: One of the big issues CSX faces is improving its service. A recent Morgan Stanley survey of companies who ship via railroads ranked CSX last among its peers in terms of customer service. …

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