By Dean Seal

Norfolk Southern has hired John Orr, the chief transformation officer of Canadian Pacific Kansas City, to take over as chief operating officer from Paul Duncan.

The railroad operator said Wednesday that Duncan has stepped down as operations chief to pursue other opportunities. Duncan was appointed to the role at the beginning of last year, about a month before a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio.

Norfolk Southern called Orr a four-decade veteran in the industry who was key in turning around Canadian Pacific Kansas City's operations in Mexico and drove significant improvements in Canadian National Railway's performance.

"Importantly, he shares our commitment to the critical cultural transformation at Norfolk Southern that values our employees, customers, shareholders, and communities," said Amy Miles, Norfolk Southern's independent board chair.

In order to hire Orr, Norfolk Southern paid Canadian Pacific Kansas City a one-time $25 million fee to waive his non-competition agreement.

Norfolk Southern has also agreed to certain operational and commercial considerations related to the Meridian Speedway and the Meridian Terminal that will create new value for Canadian Pacific Kansas City's proposed Meridian & Bigbee Railroad acquisition.

On top of that, Norfolk Southern has agreed to limited no-hire and non-solicitation restrictions for a short list of other Canadian Pacific Kansas City employees.

Orr will remain subject to his non-solicitation restrictions. He was appointed chief transformation officer of Canadian Pacific Kansas City about a year ago and served as executive vice president of operations for Kansas City Southern for two years before that.

Canadian Pacific Kansas City said it doesn't intend to appoint a new chief transformation officer.

Write to Dean Seal at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

03-20-24 0757ET