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James M. Foote Biography

James M. Foote

President and Chief Executive Officer

James Foote, a senior executive with over 40 years of diverse railroad industry experience in operations, marketing and finance, was named Chief Executive Officer of CSX in December 2017. Since that time, he has led the company’s transformation that has produced record operating and financial results. Under Foote’s leadership, CSX has realigned its operating structure to broaden the responsibilities of regional leaders; aggressively pursued sustainability initiatives to lower emissions and increase the environmental advantages of rail over trucking; adopted advanced automation technologies to improve safety and service; and implemented diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that are earning CSX recognition has an employer of choice. Foote has also overseen a comprehensive safety review and the introduction of wide-ranging safety program enhancements. CSX has emerged not only as a rail industry innovator but also as a leader among all transportation companies.

Prior to being named CEO, Foote served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer from October to December 2017. As COO, he aligned CSX’s Operations and Sales and Marketing Departments to advance the company’s operating model introduced at CSX by the late E. Hunter Harrison. Before joining CSX, Foote was President and Chief Executive Officer of Bright Rail Energy, an innovative technology company that develops and sells products that allow railroads to switch locomotives to natural gas power.

Foote began his railroad career at the age of 18 in the Mechanical Department on the Soo Line Railroad in Wisconsin, repairing locomotives and performing a variety of operations jobs. Moving rapidly from the front lines into management positions of increasing responsibility, he joined the Chicago and North Western Railroad, where he held senior positions in finance, law, labor relations and corporate communications, eventually becoming Vice President of Corporate Development, Investor Relations and Tax. In 1995, Foote joined the Canadian National Railway (CN) and again ascended through roles of increasing responsibility, being named Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 1999. He was in that position in 2003 when the CN named Mr. Harrison as CEO. Foote worked closely with Mr. Harrison throughout the CN’s operational transformation that turned a $2 billion company into one worth more than $24 billion.

Foote pursued an aggressive marketing strategy that included the introduction of new intermodal and carload services that, in coordination with the operations team, greatly reduced transit times and resulted in major traffic growth. Foote left the CN in 2009, and in 2012 formed Bright Rail Energy.

Foote holds a Juris Doctor degree from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. In 2022, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Wisconsin.


CSX Management Team