(Reuters) – CSX Corp ( CSX.O ) said on Thursday that its chief executive, Hunter Harrison, would take medical leave, an announcement that comes amid a controversial restructuring plan in The n. ° 3 from EE. UU railway that has attracted the criticism of customers and the scrutiny of regulators. The Jacksonville, Fla.-Based railroad said that Harrison, 73, was absent due to unexpected complications of an unspecified recent illness.
James Foote, who was named director of operations for CSX at the end of October , was appointed interim CEO in the absence of Harrison.
"Hunter is a good friend and has been a colleague of mine for many years," Foote, who previously worked for Harrison at Canadian National Railway Co ( CNR.TO ), said in a statement. "He is an icon in the industry and we pray for his speedy recovery."
A railway legend, Harrison was installed as CEO of CSX earlier this year. Previously he had switched to Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd ( CP.TO )
Investors had high hopes that Harrison would increase profits in CSX and, despite customer complaints and Persistent service problems on the railroad through In the summer months, the company's shares grew by 60 percent to date.
One of the concerns raised before the appointment of the septuagenarian to lead CSX focused on his health. From time to time, Harrison uses an oxygen tank, but has insisted that he was able to change lanes.
Harrison's methods since joining the company left customers complaining of delays and congestion in the rail network.
At a hearing held in October by the main rail regulator in the United States, the Surface Transportation Board, customers who criticized the CSX review demanded greater responsibility and fewer delays.
Just last week, Reuters reported that the US Government Accountability Office UU It is launching an investigation into the security of increasingly long freight trains operated by CSX Corp ( CSX.O ) to increase profitability.
In post-market trading, CSX shares remained unchanged at $ 57.31.
Report of Bhanu Pratap in Bengaluru; Edition by Sandra Maler and Cynthia Osterman