James Foote, a senior executive with over 40 years of diverse railroad industry experience in operations, marketing and finance, was named Chief Executive Officer of CSX in December 2017. Since that time, he has led CSX’s Scheduled Railroading transformation that has produced record operating and financial results. Under his leadership, CSX has realigned its operating structure to broaden the responsibilities of regional leaders, moved support functions to the field and empowered local teams to make decisions that accelerate the pace of improvement. He has also overseen a comprehensive safety review and the introduction of wide-ranging safety program enhancements.
Prior to being named CEO, Foote served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer from October to December 2017. As COO, he aligned CSX’s Operations and Sales and Marketing Departments to advance the Scheduled Railroading model introduced at CSX by the late E. Hunter Harrison. Before joining CSX, Foote was President and Chief Executive Officer of Bright Rail Energy, an innovative technology company that develops and sells products that allow railroads to switch locomotives to natural gas power.
Foote began his railroad career at the age of 18 in the Mechanical Department on the Soo Line Railroad in Wisconsin, repairing locomotives and performing a variety of operations jobs. Moving rapidly from the front lines into management positions of increasing responsibility, he joined the Chicago and North Western Railroad, where he held senior positions in finance, law, labor relations and corporate communications, eventually becoming Vice President of Corporate Development, Investor Relations and Tax. In 1995, Foote joined the Canadian National Railway (CN) and again ascended through roles of increasing responsibility, being named Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 1999. He was in that position in 2003 when the CN named Mr. Harrison as CEO and began its implementation of Scheduled Railroading. Foote worked closely with Mr. Harrison throughout the CN’s transformation that turned a $2 billion company into one worth more than $24 billion.
Foote pursued an aggressive marketing strategy that included the introduction of new intermodal and carload services that, in coordination with the operations team, greatly reduced transit times and resulted in major traffic growth. Foote left the CN in 2009, and in 2012 formed Bright Rail Energy.
Foote holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and a Juris Doctor degree from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
CSX Corporation is an American holding company focused on real estate and railways in North America, among other industries. The company was formed in 1980 by the merger of Chessie System and Seaboard Coast Line Industries and eventually merged the various railroads owned by those predecessors into a single line that became known as CSX Transportation. CSX Corporation currently has a number of subsidiaries beyond CSX Transportation, including Fruit Growers Express, CSX Technology, CSX de Mexico, and CSX Real Property among others. Based in Richmond, Virginia, USA after the merger, in 2003 the CSX Corporation headquarters moved to Jacksonville, Florida. The chairman and CEO since 2003 is Michael J. Ward, while Clarence Gooden serves as president.