Ohio-based investor group moves to replace Norfolk Southern leaders, cites ‘poor’ decisions by execs

Ancora, a Cleveland-based investment firm, made a bid to replace the leadership of Atlanta-based Norfolk Southern, proposing 10 new leaders to take spots on the company’s board and the positions of both chief executive and chief operating officers.

According to Ancora’s announcement, the investment group and its partners and affiliates own a large stake in the publicly traded railroad company.

Ancora said their proposed slate of new leaders for the company are intended to both improve stock yield and “move Norfolk Southern forward. Moving ahead starts with identifying the right destination. Our slate and proposed management team believe they have the experience and strategy required to turn Norfolk Southern into a safer, more sustainable railroad that is growing profitably while also yielding more stability for customers and employees.”

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Under the leadership of current CEO Alan Shaw, Ancora told Channel 2 Action News that the company was the “worst Class I railroad” made worse by industry-worst operations and sustained stock underperformance.

“The future looks equally bleak under Mr. Shaw, who has drawn the condemnation of policymakers and the skepticism of underwhelmed analysts and shareholders,” Ancora said in their announcement.

Additionally, Ancora said the company’s response to a derailment in East Palestine, Ohio in was “tone-deaf,” even as the community continues to rebuild from the derailment and toxic chemical release in the year since the Feb. 4, 2023 crash. The federal government also announced a lawsuit against the company in March 2023, focused on the environmental damage from the incident.


To that end, Ancora proposed former UPS executive Jim Barber to take over as CEO and former CSX executive Jamie Boychuk to take over as COO, citing their experience and their “proven” record as transportation leaders.

Responding to Channel 2 Action News questions about the board proposal, Norfolk Southern released a statement saying they have been working since day one of the East Palestine derailment to support those affected and have had “achieved a dramatic 42% reduction in our mainline accident rate year-over-year in 2023.”

Additionally, the company said its board had met with Ancora representatives to discuss their push to replace leaders in the company, and that it “regularly evaluates its composition and will continue its careful review of Ancora’s nominees,” focusing on how to advance building the safe, reliable and resilient railroad that its customers and shareholders expect.

Concerning the nominees presented by Ancora, Norfolk Southern said the board will provide a formal recommendation on the nominees in a proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and shareholders during their 2024 annual meeting, the date of which has not been announced.

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