As Norfolk Southern battle nears climax, STB head Oberman backs management

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It’s uncertain whether it will change any minds this late in the game, but the outgoing head of the Surface Transportation Board has made it clear he supports keeping Norfolk Southern’s existing management in place.
In a speech at the North American Rail Shippers Association’s annual meeting, STB Chairman Martin Oberman said he wasn’t trying to influence a vote set for Thursday — a day before Oberman leaves office — on Ancora Holdings’ effort to oust Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw through a proxy battle.
“It’s not my position to urge shareholders how to vote in this election,” Oberman said at the meeting last week. “It is my responsibility to call out serious threats to the national rail network.”
Railroads cannot operate with “only enough people and locomotives to meet the needs of the movement when the sun is shining and there are no problems,” he said, according to a transcript of the speech. “But we are now confronting a situation where one group is either completely ignorant of these recent past lessons or has willfully chosen to ignore them in an effort to make a quick buck. Of course, I am talking about the proxy battle initiated and being fiercely — I might even say viciously — waged by Ancora against the current leadership of Norfolk Southern.”

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