Hunter Harrison has taken a medical leave from his position as CEO and president of CSX, the company announced Dec. 14. The railroad gave no details other than saying the leave was due to “unexpected complications from a recent illness.”
The acting CEO of CSX gave no indication Dec. 15 how Harrison will be on leave from the railroad. James Foote would only say that Harrison became ill in the last week.
The company announced Dec. 14 that Harrison was on medical leave and that Foote, who had been COO, would take the top spot at the railroad.
Foote, speaking to investors and the media the morning of Dec. 15 on a conference call, said that Harrison had taken part in the Credit Suisse conference two weeks ago. Last week, he held one of his retreats called Hunter Camps with managers from the railroad.
“After that he became ill and went on medical leave,” Foote said. “That’s all I can say.”
Foote, who had worked with Harrison for 11 years at Canadian National Railway, came to CSX in October as the company announced that three of its executives were leaving. The same day that the railroad announced those changes, it said it would be cancelling its planned Oct. 30 investor day with little explanation.
Foote said Dec.15 that it was cancelled because he didn’t have time at that point to learn everything he needed to meet with investors. That day will be held in early March, he said.
Harrison came from Canadian Pacific to take the top spot in CSX. The board approved his four-year contract in March. In May, it was disclosed that he was often using oxygen to help breathe and was working from home on some days.
He reportedly refused the board’s request for a medical exam when took over the railroad.