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US freight railroad CSX has confirmed it is to shed around 1,000 managerial staff ,as negotiations surrounding the appointment of Hunter Harrison as chief executive continue.

A spokesperson for the US rail carrier also told The Loadstar chief sales and marketing officer Frederik Eliasson would replace Clarence Gooden as president. Gooden is set to retire in May alongside current chairman and chief executive Michael Ward.

The spokesperson said the “involuntary separation”, which would mostly affect staff at its HQ in Jacksonville, would be completed by the end of March, with “enhanced” benefits being extended to affected employees.

“These changes have been in the planning process for some time, and while we have been making significant improvements in efficiency, including more than $400m in savings last year, we must accelerate our progress,” said the spokesperson.

CSX employs 27,000 people, with approximately 4,500 in management roles, of which roughly 2,000 are in field locations.

The carrier said Mr Eliasson’s appointment was part of an “orderly transition” of the company’s leadership, which had been under consideration for more than a year and was not intended to pre-empt or affect discussions surrounding the appointment of Mr Harrison as chief executive.

Mr Harrison’s possible appointment at CSX has been hinted at for some time, but gained traction at the end of January when he announced his resignation as chief executive of rival carrier Canadian Pacific.

A fortnight later, CSX went public with the state of those negotiations, but expressed concerns over a “$300m” remuneration package Mr Harrison was said to be seeking, and the board called an “extraordinary meeting” to discuss the terms of his appointment.

Activist investor Paul Hilal – whose investment fund is behind the push for Mr Harrison’s appointment – roundly refuted the $300m claim in a subsequent letter that was made public.

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