Norfolk Southern will promote marketing executive to CEO

Jim Squires (right) will retire as CEO of Norfolk Southern in May 2022. Alan Shaw (left), chief marketing officer, will succeed him. Squires and Shaw are standing on a balcony at Norfolk Southern's Midtown headquarters.
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Jim Squires (right) will retire as CEO of Norfolk Southern in May 2022. Alan Shaw (left), chief marketing officer, will succeed him. Squires and Shaw are standing on a balcony at Norfolk Southern's Midtown headquarters.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Norfolk Southern just opened a new headquarters in Midtown. Soon, it also will have a new CEO.

Alan Shaw on May 1 will succeed Jim Squires as CEO of the fifth-largest North American railroad, according to a Thursday news release. Norfolk Southern also appointed Shaw to succeed Squires as president, effective immediately.

Squires will remain chairman, company spokesman Tom Crosson said. It’s expected that Shaw will be elected to the company’s board in May, he said.

Shaw, 54, has been chief marketing officer since 2015, with oversight of intermodal operations, customer-facing technology, sustainability and new products. He joined Norfolk Southern in 1994.

The 60-year-old Squires has been chairman and CEO since 2015 and was previously chief financial officer. He joined the company in 1992.

Steven Leer, Norfolk Southern’s lead independent board member, said in a news release that Squires increased shareholder value by more than $30 billion, implemented precision scheduled railroading and led the company through a freight recession and global pandemic during his tenure as CEO.

Supply chain bottlenecks and labor shortages have hurt Norfolk Southern’s operations. Domestic volume declined 6% in the third quarter, compared to the same period a year ago, due to “limited chassis availability, labor and capacity constraints, and overall supply chain congestion,” offsetting strong consumer demand, Norfolk Southern said in October.

Norfolk Southern last month moved into a 750,000 square-foot office tower located between the Fox Theatre and the Varsity fast-food restaurant. About 3,000 employees are based there.

Former Gov. Nathan Deal and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms aggressively recruited the railroad to move its headquarters here from Norfolk, Virginia. They also persuaded Norfolk Southern to sell its downtown property known as the Gulch, which is now being developed into a $5 billion mixed-use project known as Centennial Yards.

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