In his first address to the annual meeting of shareholders, CEO James A. Squires said, “It’s a new page, new chapter, new book for Norfolk Southern.”
Squires, who became CEO June 1, said, “At all levels, I see in our people heightened resolve to adapt and improve in ways that are most meaningful to shareholders, customers, and communities. We at Norfolk Southern have recommitted to doing the big things that it takes to fully realize our vision of becoming the best.”
The big achievements of 2015, Squires said, included improving customer service to near-record levels and embarking on a bold new five-year strategic plan to drive growth, streamline operations, improve network performance, and deliver enhanced shareholder value.
The plan targets annual expense savings of more than $650 million and an operating ratio -- a key indicator of operating and financial performance -- below 65 percent by 2020. “The plan is designed to deliver sustainable, profitable growth by optimizing pricing and targeting service-sensitive markets,” Squires said.
As indicators the plan is working, Squires cited Norfolk Southern’s first-quarter double-digit improvements in operating income, net income, and earnings per share, coupled with a first-quarter record operating ratio. “Our strong first-quarter 2016 performance gives an early glimpse of the opportunities that await us through solid execution of our new strategic plan to drive enhanced profitability and shareholder returns,” Squires said.
“Your corporation is on the right trajectory,” he said. “The projects we have accomplished to date and the initiatives we are undertaking over the next five years are positioning us to achieve our long-term financial and service goals.”
Squires’ remarks are posted in the Investor Relations section of the Norfolk Southern website.
In official business, stockholders took the following actions, based on preliminary results:
- Re-elected 11 directors for terms expiring in 2017: Thomas D. Bell Jr., chairman of Mesa Capital Partners LLC; Erskine B. Bowles, senior advisor and non-executive vice chairman of BDT Capital Partners LLC; Robert A. Bradway, chairman and chief executive officer of Amgen Inc.; Wesley G. Bush, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Northrop Grumman Corporation; Daniel A. Carp, non-executive chairman of Delta Air Lines Inc.; Steven F. Leer, former chief executive officer and chairman of Arch Coal Inc.; Michael D. Lockhart, retired chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Armstrong World Industries Inc.; Amy E. Miles, chief executive officer of Regal Entertainment Group; Martin H. Nesbitt, co-founder of The Vistria Group; Squires; and John R. Thompson, former senior vice president and general manager of Best Buy.com LLC. Karen N. Horn, a partner with Brock Capital Group, retired from the board effective this meeting, and Charles W. Moorman, former CEO of Norfolk Southern, retired as a director Dec. 31, 2015.
- Ratified appointment of KPMG LLP as auditors.
- Approved an advisory resolution on the compensation of executive officers.
About Norfolk Southern
Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway Company subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal, automotive, and industrial products.
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