Kansas City Southern Railway said David L. Starling will move up to CEO effective Aug. 1 while longtime Chairman and CEO Michael R. Haverty takes the new position of executive chairman.
Haverty said this is part of a long-planned succession. “Dave came to Kansas City in July 2008 as president and chief operating officer of KCS with the thought in mind that he could succeed me as CEO,” Haverty said in announcing the changes. “After two years, we are ready.”
KCS, , which operates the smallest of the top-tier North American freight railroads, said Haverty will “continue to concentrate on the strategic direction of the company and oversee long-term business decisions,” while Starling reports to him and will “focus on execution of the company’s long-range plan.”
The company has a track network that sprawls across the central U.S. from its base at Kansas City, Mo., down into the Southeast and to its Mexico border link at Laredo. It operates about as much track in a large concession inside Mexico that connects both seacoasts, the country’s major commercial centers and a new Pacific Ocean container port at Lazaro Cardenas.
Haverty became CEO of Kansas City Southern Railway in 1995, CEO of parent KCS in 2001 and gained the board chairmanship as of January 2001. Before that, he ran his own consultancy for several years, and was earlier president and chief operating officer at Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (now part of BNSF Railway).
Starling started out with St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad in 1971, KCS said, and spent 14 years with that Frisco line and with BNSF after it bought that carrier.
He later worked for Mi-Jack Products as it created a terminal operating company. In 1988 he joined American President Lines as managing director of stack train operations first in Chicago, then Atlanta. He managed APL’s Philippines operations in 1993, Hong Kong/South China in 1994, and in 1997 was made vice president for Central Asia responsible for China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
In 1999, he became president and general director of Panama Canal Railway Company, which is half owned by KCS. He served in Panama until 2008 when he joined KCS as president and COO.
Haverty said Starling in 1999 “began a reporting relationship to me as co-chairman of PCRC. In July 2007, we engaged him as executive representative of KCS, in addition to his position at PCRC, so that he could work with ocean carriers calling on the Port of Lazaro Cardenas in Mexico, as well as the Port of Balboa in Panama. This gave Dave exposure to our intermodal network in Mexico.”
Last year, KCS finished a costly intermodal line construction project south of Houston that eliminated some expensive trackage rights payments to another carrier, and gave KCS a chance to build an intermodal ramp in that area that serves both the southern U.S. market and its Mexico track network.
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