News & Reviews News Wire Ancora’s activist campaign gains support of Norfolk Southern investor (updated)

Ancora’s activist campaign gains support of Norfolk Southern investor (updated)

By Trains Staff | April 8, 2024

Ancora also amps up criticism of hiring of John Orr as NS chief operating officer

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Freight train in rail yard
A Norfolk Southern train departs the Belt Railway of Chicago’s Clearing Yard on March 2, 2024. David Lassen

CLEVELAND – Ancora Holdings’ campaign to oust Norfolk Southern’s management team last week gained the support of New York investment management firm Neuberger Berman, which said it has concerns about the railroad’s operations, strategy, safety, and service.

“We believe a change in management and refreshment of the board … are warranted and could stimulate improved operations and thus equity performance,” Neuberger Berman said in a statement.

Separately, Ancora issued a letter to NS shareholders last week that increased its criticism of the railroad’s decision to hire Canadian Pacific Kansas City executive John Orr as chief operating officer.

Ancora has blasted NS for paying CPKC $25 million and making concessions regarding the railroads’ Meridian Speedway joint venture in order to hire Orr and free him from a non-compete clause in his contract.

Not mentioned in the letter: If NS chose to hire Ancora’s chief operating officer candidate, former CSX executive Jamie Boychuk, it likely would have to pay a similar fee to CSX. Boychuk, who was dismissed as CSX’s executive vice president of operations in August, remains subject to a non-compete agreement, according to CSX.

Note: Updated at 5:17 p.m. Central to remove reference to EdgePoint, which has ended its relationship with Ancora Holdings.

12 thoughts on “Ancora’s activist campaign gains support of Norfolk Southern investor (updated)

  1. Seems like NS senior management has never been very bright. In the late 90’s Rob Krebs offered David Goode the opportunity to merge with BNSF. Goode turned Krebs down not once but twice.

    So now Warren Buffett is laughing all the way to the bank and the sorry, pathetic excuse for NS management has turned it into the absolutely worst performing Class 1 in the rail industry.

  2. As Forrest Gump’s momma said, “Stupid is as stupid does…” so I guess it is no surprise that another Wall Street proponent of Operation by Lowest Operating Ratio would chip in their “two-bits” to this short-sighted and woe-begotten attempt to make a Class One Railroad a target of forced bankruptcy by people whose only interest is making a short-term buck and then bailing out! Oh yeah, and ruining the lifes of the employees and long term investors at the same time.

    Ancora’s feelings to those folks: Sucks to be you!

  3. Charles and all of you who said they voted against Ancora, if Ancora wins, I’m selling my shares.

  4. 1. Ancora says it sent a letter to shareholders last week, but I haven’t received a copy yet.
    2. Neither Ancora nor Neuberger Berman are among the top 10 institutional shareholders, at least as of 31 December 2023.

  5. I only have a few shares but I voted my shares for the NS recommended slate. Alan Shaw knows what he’s doing and knows how to keep both customers and employees happy. Wall Street wants to increase profits at the expense of rail safety and on time delivery.

  6. As the old saying goes, “Money talks and Bovine Byproduct walks.”

    Many of these investment groups are holding paper for retirement funds. Their sole purpose is to make as much money as they can for their clients, regardless of how the money is made.

    I see reregulation just around the corner.

  7. I voted for the NS slate. Ancora not only doesn’t want to grow business but also wants less business!

    1. Mr. Lucas, I sure do hope more NS stockholders see the world as you do.

    2. Guess what, Mr. Lucas. There have been countless elections where the good guys lose and the gruesome barbarians win.

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