Lifetime Achievement Award
When Michael J. Ward took the reins at CSX Corporation Inc., it was a company struggling to find an identity. A series of mergers and acquisitions had created confusion about just what the company was and what it stood for.
But Ward knew that regardless of what line of work a company is in, if it didn’t focus on people and make customer service a top priority, it wouldn’t have a future. So he put his people skills to use and began repairing the railroad transportation company’s reputation for service by putting a strong focus on core values, such as “People make the difference,” “It starts with the customer,” and “Get the right results the right way.”
Ward honed his skill at building relationships as a rack boy at his father’s pool hall in Baltimore. He then sharpened his business acumen at Harvard Business School, and when he arrived at CSX in 1977, he was ready for the challenge.
Through the 1980s, he helped with merger integration activities and worked in sales and marketing to create the C&O Business Unit. In 1995, he moved up to the position of chief financial officer and began to put his mark on the leadership of CSX’s rail operations, specifically providing leadership on the integration of Conrail operations into CSX.
He took over as president of CSX Transportation in 2000 and became chairman and CEO of CSX Corp. in 2003. His efforts to get employees to always strive for excellence have put the company in a strong position to weather the storm of the recent global recession.
Ward keeps his team members focused on driving productivity, creating efficiency and always putting CSX in a position to succeed by making sure they never lose sight of the customer.
How to reach: CSX Corporation Inc. (904) 359-3200 or www.csx.com