The newspaper said it compiled the ranking “using quantitative and qualitative measures, including the role the CFO plays in each company and how peers and competitors regard the CFO’s work.”
Knight, 54, was promoted to CFO after two years as Vice President Finance. He is on the boards of Grupo Ferroviario Mexicana (Ferromex, partly owned by UP) and TTX Company. He previously held several key operational roles, including Vice President and General Manager of the railroad’s Automotive and Energy groups, two major business segments.
Knight became CFO when, “for the first time in decades, demand outstripped supply for rail services, but the company was unable to meet the demand due to operational difficulties,” The WSJ noted. “Since then, UP has resolved its problems. Profit margins have increased from about 5% in 2004 to 17% in 2011, [which] was a record year in many ways: $19.6 billion in revenues, net income of $3.3 billion, and EPS of $6.72. UP also saw record free cash flow, and dividends per share increased 58%. It bought back $1.4 billion in shares in 2011. A capital intensive company, UP spent $3.2 billion on capex in 2011, and expects to spend $3.6 billion in 2012. ROIC was a record 12.4% in 2011.”