Senior vice president of operations and mechanical at Norfolk Southern abruptly leaves company

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor for rtands.com

After a year of leading NS’s “clean sheeting” initiative in a consulting role, Michael A. Farrell was named senior vice president transportation in Nov. 2018, then appointed senior vice president of operations and mechanical in Aug. 2019. Yesterday, NS president, chairman and chief executive officer Jim Squires announced that Farrell was no longer with the railroad, and a reason or explanation was not offered.

Farrell is an alum of Canadian Pacific, Canadian National and Union Pacific, and reported to Michael J. Wheeler, executive vice president and chief operating officer. Last week, NS announced that long-time CSX railroader, most recently with Union Pacific, Cindy Sanborn would become executive vice president and chief operating officer on Sept. 1, and Wheeler is scheduled to retire on Oct. 1.

In a statement, NS told RT&S that “Mike’s understanding of precision-scheduled railroading has been an asset to our company over the last two years. We appreciate his drive for efficiency and his willingness to challenge the status quo. We wish him well in his future endeavors. Our TOP21 operating plan and guiding PSR principles are firmly embedded in the Operations Division leadership team and producing results. We are excited that Cindy Sanborn will be joining the company as chief operating officer, effective Sept. 1, to build on our progress and achieve the full potential of Norfolk Southern.”

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