Former Vice-Chairman and Chief Operating Officer *
Norfolk Southern Corporation
Garnett, South Carolina
Mr. Tobias is the former Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Norfolk Southern Corporation, a Class 1 railroad. Mr. Tobias was Interim Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Pacific Railway Limited and Canadian Pacific Railway Company from May 17 until June 28, 2012.
With four decades of experience in the railway industry, Mr. Tobias began his career as a junior engineer at the Norfolk and Western Railway in 1969. Mr. Tobias worked in several operating positions within the N&W over the next 13 years. After the creation of Norfolk Southern in 1982 (following a merger of the N&W and Southern Railway), Mr. Tobias was appointed as the General Manager of the Eastern Region, and then became General Manager – Western Lines.
Between 1989 and 1998, Mr. Tobias was Vice-President of Transportation, Vice President Strategic Planning, Senior Vice President Operations, and Executive Vice President Operations before being named Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer in 1998. Mr. Tobias served as Vice Chairman and COO until his retirement from Norfolk Southern in April of 2009.
While Mr. Tobias was associated with many programs at Norfolk Southern, he is most linked to the Thoroughbred Operating Plan (TOP). The TOP was designed to focus performance on a by-car basis, as opposed to the previous overall train movement model. Using a variety of operations planning system tools, the component pieces of the Thoroughbred Operating Plan were designed to mesh with one another to create a system that would recognize, accommodate and adjust to fluctuations in traffic patterns and network volume.
Norfolk Southern was recognized as a strong operational performer, with a consistent financial performance, customer satisfaction and safety record. Mr. Tobias was a leader and exponent of the management and operational philosophy that led to NS being regarded as an industry leader, and what many considered to be the best-run Class I railroad in the U.S.
During his career, Mr. Tobias’ belief that each individual must take responsibility for not only their own safety, but also for the safety of coworkers, led to NS being awarded 15 consecutive Harriman Gold Medal Awards. The Harriman Awards recognize those railroads which encourage safe operating practices and safety enhancements, and celebrate that the recipient demonstrates that safety and efficiency work together to benefit the operation.
Mr. Tobias was a Captain in the United States Army, has a B.A. in History from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.
His board experience in the railroad and transportation industries including serving as a director of TTX Company; the Association of American Railroads (AAR); Transportation Technology Center, Inc.; and Norfolk Southern’s subsidiary Norfolk Southern Railway Company. He was also a member and Chairman of AAR’s Safety and Operations Management Committee and the AAR’s Security Committee. Mr. Tobias is currently a member of the board of directors of Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc. He is a former member of The Board of Visitors of The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, The Citadel Foundation (Chairman), and was a member of the Virginia Business Council. In 2008, Mr. Tobias was awarded Railway Age’s “Railroader of the Year” award.
Mr. Tobias resides in Garnett, South Carolina. He is married and has two children.
* Chair of the Safety, Operations and Environment Committee and member of the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee and Management Resources and Compensation Committee.