Norfolk Southern is delivering on commitments to improve corporate performance through successful execution of its strategic plan, CEO James A. Squires said in remarks to the annual meeting of shareholders.
Noting that the best strategy is tested and proven by results, Squires said, “We have a sound strategy, and we are producing results that drive sustainable profitability, high-quality growth, and enhanced shareholder value. We are delivering on our commitments.”
2016 was the first full year of Norfolk Southern’s five-year strategic plan to operate a faster, lower-cost, and more profitable railroad. Achievements in 2016 included an all-time best operating ratio of 68.9 percent, productivity savings of $250 million, near record levels of network service performance, and record locomotive fuel efficiency.
“Through successful execution of our plan, we achieved our key first-year financial and operational targets,” Squires said, “and we are well on pace to achieve our 2020 performance goals.”
Norfolk Southern is off to a strong start on the second year of the strategic plan, Squires said, citing 2017 first-quarter records achieved in operating ratio, income from operations, and earnings per share. The company’s 2020 goals include annual expense savings of more than $650 million; double-digit percentage compound annual growth rate in earnings per share; and an operating ratio – a key measure of operating and financial performance – below 65 percent.
“We are driving growth by providing superior service that optimizes pricing and increases volume and top-line revenue,” Squires said. “We are relentlessly focused on meeting the unique needs of our customers – and we are measuring service excellence as they define it.”
In the long term, service will be a major competitive differentiator for Norfolk Southern and will propel shareholder value, he added.
Squires’ remarks are posted on the “Investor Relations” section of the Norfolk Southern website.
In official business, based on preliminary results, shareholders re-elected 12 directors for terms expiring in 2018:
- Thomas D. Bell Jr., chairman of Mesa Capital Partners
- Erskine B. Bowles, senior advisor and nonexecutive vice chairman of BDT Capital Partners LLC
- Wesley G. Bush, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Northrop Grumman Corporation
- Daniel A. Carp, former chairman and chief executive officer of Eastman Kodak Company
- Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., president of Purdue University
- Marcela E. Donadio, former partner and Americas Oil & Gas Sector Leader of Ernst & Young LLP
- Steven F. Leer, former chief executive officer and chairman of Arch Coal Inc.
- Michael D. Lockhart, former chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Armstrong World Industries Inc.
- Amy E. Miles, chair and chief executive officer of Regal Entertainment Group Inc.
- Martin H. Nesbitt, co-founder of The Vistria Group
- James A. Squires, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Norfolk Southern
- John R. Thompson, former senior vice president and general manager of Best Buy.com LLC
In other preliminary results, shareholders ratified appointment of KPMG LLP as independent auditors, approved an advisory resolution on the compensation of executive officers, and approved a nonbinding resolution in support of an annual 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 19,500 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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