Activist Group Calls for Norfolk Southern (NSC) Board Revamp

Norfolk Southern Corporation NSC announced that it has received a notice from an investor group led by Ancora Holdings. The group has nominated eight candidates to stand for election to the railroad operator’s board at its 2024 annual meeting of shareholders.

The activist group is looking to bring about a change in NSC’s top management. Among the desired changes, the group, which holds a large stake in NSC, intends to replace the railroad’s present CEO Alan Shaw with the hugely experienced Jim Barber, who previously served United Parcel Service UPS. We remind investors that Barber retired in 2020 as UPS’ chief operating officer. In that capacity, he was responsible for international and U.S. operations, freight forwarding, distribution and logistics, freight brokerage and customs brokerage among others.

Before being appointed as UPS’ COO, Barber served as president of the company’s international operations from 2013-2018. In that role, he was responsible for various functions including distribution, forwarding, small-package delivery, brokerage, customs compliance and other service offerings at UPS across multiple countries and territories outside the United States.

Barber is currently a member of the freight broker, C.H. Robinson Worldwide CHRW. He was in the running for CHRW’s CEO. However, he did not make it to CHRW’s top position. Ultimately. Dave Bozeman, CHRW’s current CEO, got the nod.

Apart from pushing for a new CEO, the activist group aims to replace NSC’s incumbent COO Paul Duncan with Jamie Boychuk, a former executive at fellow-railroad CSX Corporation CSX.

We remind investors that in 2023, Boychuk left CSX. At that time, he was serving as CSX’s executive vice president of operations. Boychuk was instrumental in implementing scheduled railroading to streamline operations at CSX.

Coming back to the news of Ancora Holdings’ endeavor to revamp NSC’s board, the activist group is of the opinion that board’s “poor decisions with regard to the company’s leadership, safety priorities and strategy” are responsible for the railroad’s present sufferings. Notably, NSC is still suffering from the derailment in East Palestine, OH, last year.

Due to the challenges, NSC shares have declined 4.1% in 2023 against its industry’s 10.9% growth.

Zacks Investment Research
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Zacks Rank

Currently, Norfolk Southern carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). UPS and CSX presently carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) each, while CHRW has a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

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CSX Corporation (CSX) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. (CHRW) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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