No Retreat From the Backlash
Putting Stakeholder Management Principles to Work
Is there a new paradigm for CEOs in the 21st century who seek to enhance returns for investors by creating value for customers, employees, distribution and supply chain partners, and the environment?
Joe Hinrichs, the new CSX CEO and President, is getting a lot of good press these days because as a former customer of the company, he’s putting the focus on the customer experience by addressing the interests of employees in the storied world of rail transportation.
In this live and recorded interview for streaming on the EEA YouTube channel, he’ll share his story and vision for what stakeholder management really means for shareholders and customers, employees, distribution and supply chain partners, communities, and the environment in this Enterprise Engagement Alliance show live on Zoom on Feb. 21 at 11 am and available shortly after on the EEA YouTube channel. Click here to register for the live show.
The stakeholder capitalism public relations backlash hasn’t stopped Joe Hinrichs, named to the CEO position in September 2020, from applying its principles to enhance sustainable results for shareholders at this transportation holding company formed in 1980 out of two major railroad systems with roots going back to the beginning of the US railroad industry.
During the 30-minute live show, he’ll be asked about the practical application of the principles of stakeholder capitalism to creating a better experience for customers by working closely with all employees, supply chain and distribution partners, and communities to deliver the marketing promise, which he says is to provide reliable and cost-efficient deliveries in a way that helps enhance distribution and supply chain partners and communities, while minimizing risks to people and the environment.
Before joining CSX, Hinrichs was president of the Ford Automotive division, culminating a 19-year career with the company. A recent post on Linkedin about Hinrichs by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance’s founder Bruce Bolger generated nearly 30,000 views and over 600 likes across multiple reposts.
In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Hinrichs summarizes the application of stakeholder management principles to his new challenge, “We know that the rail industry can serve our customers better, and we’re working hard at doing that at CSX. There’s a tremendous opportunity to build a better relationship with our employees, especially our employees in the field, and improve the employee experience....We’re 196 years old, and there’s been a lot of distrust over the years between employees and management. Any hope of having trust, there has to be a relationship. There has to be regular and constant communication and interaction. This industry is ripe for change when it comes to employee and union relations.”
Though sales and profits were down marginally in 2023 versus 2022, the company’s stock is selling in the $36 per share range as of February 2024, versus the $26 per share range the month Hinrichs joined the company.
Joining the company at a time of intense labor negotiations, he says he started by listening to employees and customers. For instance, while he agrees with the principles of controversial precision-scheduled railroading, or PSR, he says “it was implemented in a way that didn’t really take the employee experience into account and frankly didn’t prioritize better customer service.”
Demonstrating how trade-offs are made in the world of stakeholder capitalism, he explains: “It’s not an issue of, ‘Is PSR bad or good?’ It’s an issue of balance and making sure that you have the right priorities constantly and including employees and customers in how you implement scheduled railroading.”
Click here to register for the live show Feb. 21 at 11 am ET.
ESM Is Published by The EEA: Your Source for Effective Stakeholder Management, Engagement, and Reporting
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