KCS: Jeff Songer, John Orr in New Strategic Roles

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Jeff Songer (left) and John Orr

Kansas City Southern (KCS), now in the midst of a merger with Canadian Pacific, has bolstered its executive leadership team with two strategic appointments: Jeffrey M. Songer in the new role of Executive Vice President-Strategic Merger Planning, and John F. Orr as Executive Vice President-Operations.

Songer, formerly Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and a 16-year KCS veteran, will now be primarily focused on managing the Canadian Pacific (CP)-KCS merger application process, which includes developing a joint network-wide operating plan; safety integration plan; environmental impact statement and environmental assessment; and labor impact plan, among other duties.   

“Jeff is uniquely qualified to fill this critical role in what is arguably the most strategically significant project in our company’s 134-year history,” KCS President and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer said. “His 16-year track record of outstanding performance at KCS, and his familiarity with all aspects of our network, business and customer base, make him very well suited for this important role.” 

Orr is transitioning to his new chief of operations role at KCS after serving since February 2021 as an Executive Consultant. He has more than 20 years of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) experience at CN, where he was Senior Vice President and Chief Transportation Officer. He has also held the CN positions of Senior Vice President-Operations for the U.S. (Southern) Region, Vice President-Transportation for the Eastern Canada network, and Vice President-Chief Safety and Sustainability Officer for the North American network.

“John has been with us as an Executive Consultant since February and has gained a solid understanding of our network operations and opportunities for further improvement,” Ottensmeyer said. “He has integrated extremely well with [Executive Vice President Precision Scheduled Railroading] Sameh Fahmy and the entire PSR implementation team at KCS, and I am confident he will contribute positively to our service-focused ‘phase three’ PSR initiatives.”

Orr is well-known to Railway Age readers through the PSR, The Next Generation “PSR 2.0” series of three feature articles and podcasts on which he collaborated with Contributing Editor Sonia Bot, chief executive of The BOT Consulting Group Inc. “I’m happy to see that John is taking our vision and approaches for scaling up PSR at KCS,” said Bot. “Imagine the potential when it expands to the CP-KCS network, and better yet, throughout the continent with all the ecosystem players! These are exciting times in railroading!”

PSR, The Next Generation. Part 1: The Case for Mainstream Adoption

PSR, The Next Generation, Part 1: Rail Group On Air Podcast

PSR, The Next Generation, Part 2: Implementing and Scaling PSR 2.0 for 20% to 80% Process Waste Reduction

PSR, The Next Generation, Part 2: Rail Group On Air Podcast

PSR, The Next Generation, Part 3: Realizing Your Vision of PSR 2.0

PSR, The Next Generation, Part 3: Rail Group On Air Podcast

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