Charles W. “Wick” Moorman, the retired chairman, CEO and president of Class I railroad Norfolk Southern, is moving from shifting cargo to ferrying people having been confirmed as the next President and CEO of Amtrak. The rail industry veteran is an interesting appointment considering the recent tensions between the freight operators and passenger-carrying Amtrak. A federal appeals court ruling in April stated that Congress can’t give Amtrak the power to impose rail standards on other private railroads and ensure it is they that are given priority over freight trains on tracks they share.
Moorman is historically a freight man but has now got the task of leading the nation’s passenger train network. So who is he and what’s he bringing to probably the biggest job in US rail?
Moorman, a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, comes to Amtrak after more than 40 years at NS where he rose from management trainee to CEO and chairman of the Board of Directors. Having worked with NS from the ground up, Moorman gained an appreciation for the many facets of railroad operations and used this knowledge to modernize the way NS conducted business, served customers and worked with communities. A graduate of Georgia Tech and Harvard Business School, Moorman serves on the boards of Duke Energy Corporation, Chevron Corporation, the Virginia chapter of the Nature Conservancy, and the Georgia Tech Foundation.
Anthony Coscia, chairman of the Board of Directors of Amtrak said, “We are very pleased that someone with Wick’s experience and vision will lead Amtrak during this critical period as the company charts a course for future growth and improvement. Under CEO Joe Boardman, and with the support of the Administration and Congress, Amtrak has achieved record levels of performance and investment. The Board believes Wick can build upon this success in the coming year by launching initiatives to further enhance safety and customer service, modernize our operations, and guide our implementation of the FAST Act.”
Megan Huff, Deputy Chief Operations Technology, Amtrak is one of a host of leading speakers at SmartTransit in New Jersey in October 2016. Find out who else is speaking and how to book your ticket here.
“It is an honor and privilege to take on the role of CEO at Amtrak and I look forward to working with its dedicated employees to find ways to provide even better service to our passengers and the nation,” said Moorman. “At Norfolk Southern, our team fostered change by placing a solid emphasis on performance across all aspects of our business which helped develop a stronger safety and service culture throughout the company. I look forward to advancing those same goals at Amtrak and helping to build a plan for future growth.”
“Wick’s deep operational background and track record of building teams and driving innovation is exactly what we need to provide unparalleled service to the more than 500 communities we serve,” said Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors Jeffrey Moreland. “We are confident that, working together with the Board, Wick can formulate a strong plan to take Amtrak to the next level and assemble the management team and expertise to carry it forward.”
Moorman succeeds current CEO Joe Boardman, who announced his intention to retire last Autumn; “I have been humbled to lead this extraordinary organization over the past eight years,” said Boardman. “I look forward to spending time with my family and wish Wick all the best as he brings his excellent experience to Amtrak.”
“The Board and I thank Joe for his dedicated service to Amtrak and its customers and for his long career in public service. Under his leadership, Amtrak delivered record ridership, introduced a series of safety initiatives and modernized its fleet. For this, he should be proud,” Coscia said.
Editor’s Comment: Amtrak will need Moorman to utilize his industry-wide respect and all his experience to focus on working with the Class 1 freight railroads as partners, rather than adversaries and resist the fall-back on the courts. He will lead the company, effective September 1, 2016 and we'll keep you updated with his progress.