Feb 27, 2018
Came upon this video of some CSX issues:
Yesterday's WSJ had a story on Hunter Harrison "Apology Tours" as put in place by CP and CSX to win back lost customers. It's been difficult.
“I get on an airplane, go to someone’s office with my hat in my hand and say, ‘I’m sorry about last year, we screwed up and we didn’t do a really good job for you,’ ” CSX Chief Executive Jim Foote said in an interview last month.
EHH was too busy looking at the bottom line, and how to fatten it. He forgot how that bottom line accumulates in the beginning. I just don't follow the "acclaim" attached to him, when long term he did harm.
In the WSJ story they mention Harrison's insistence to customers that they work their carloads seven days a week, stating that it's essential to his brand of precision railroading. He was insulated from the reality that existed outside his office, that some customers close on weekends or run fewer shifts on certain days. This alienated customers, who felt like they were being forced to knuckle under.
This is a bizarre way of thinking. Since when do businesses dictate to customers, and enjoy anything but a very short term success? The trucking industry was likely sitting there, watching, laughing. Transportation of other sources goods is a customer SERVICE trade. Oops, EHH.
Looks like everybody follows a "Gauss curve". Learning, improving, reaching an apex, and then finally going down the hill, becoming less and less efficient and "up to date". Many times experience replaces brain accuteness, but sometimes that's not sufficient. It seems to have been the case for Hunter Harrison, may he rest in peace, as it appears he's made an outstanding job some years earlier when at the head of CN.
BTW, from a railfan prospective, that day along screwed CSX line looks like not having been that bad, with some good railroad action. On the same subject I can't recall all the days I spent along railroads dormant in these moments, due to trackwork a little bit further for example...
EHH's 'claim to fame' was taking bloated failing, straight line properties and economizing. With CSX he, at the behest of Mantle Ridge, was sent in to vacuum out every last penny of available cash and to make cash out of the existing facilities of CSX by deactivating them and selling them for scrap. There has never been any attempt under EHH or his successors into growing the company's customer base or growing the the existing customers use of CSX.
EHH should never rest in the hell that he created for the employees and customers of CSX. May Mantle Ridge also go bankrupt - thieves that they are.