Norfolk Southern on Aug. 14 announced promotions for two senior-level managers, effective Aug. 16: Vanessa Allen Sutherland and Michael Farrell. Allen Sutherland, previously Vice President Law, is now SVP Government Relations and Chief Legal Officer. Farrell, previously Senior Vice President Transportation, is now SVP Operations and Mechanical.
As SVP Government Relations and Chief Legal Officer, Allen Sutherland assumes responsibility for government relations and law. She joined Norfolk Southern in 2018 as VP Law. She was named SVP and Chief Legal Officer in April 2019. Before NS, Allen Sutherland held various government and corporate legal positions, including CEO and chairperson of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, and chief counsel with the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). In her new position, Allen Sutherland reports to the Chairman, President and CEO Jim Squires.
“Constructive, informed, and collaborative legal and regulatory environments are essential to Norfolk Southern’s success,” said Squires. “Vanessa’s experience in corporate law, at Norfolk Southern and elsewhere, enables her to protect and progress our positions across our business. Likewise, her understanding of government and community expectations and processes, honed during her tenure as the head of a federal agency, positions her to foster and deepen the dialogue that leads to innovation for the safety and prosperity of NS, our customers, and shareholders, and the communities we serve.”
As SVP Operations and Mechanical, Farrell assumes responsibility for transportation and mechanical functions. He joined NS in 2018 as SVP Transportation and “led the company’s efforts to transform its service offering and field operations by building on a railroad career that comprises three decades of transformative operations experience at four Class I railroads,” NS said. In his new position, Farrell reports to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Wheeler.
“In this expanded role, Mike brings the energy and operational insights that have, in less than a year, transformed our transportation performance, and applies them to our mechanical functions,” said Wheeler. “Mike’s determination and proven approach will extract the same efficiencies in fuel consumption and fleet management that he and his teams have already realized in equipment utilization and train operations. Broadening his role from transportation to mechanical and beyond is a logical step in pursuit of our five core principles of serving customers, managing assets, controlling costs, working safely, and developing our employees at all levels of the company.”
“[Both these] actions strengthen the alignment between our organization and the goals of our strategic plan,” noted Squires. “These expanded roles underscore the board’s confidence in the direction set by Mike and Vanessa, and in their abilities to lead the company to greater success in the future.”