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GATX CEO Kenney retiring in April; EVP to succeed him

EVP Bob Lyons heads GATX’s Rail North America division

Bob Lyons (left) will succeed Brian Kenney (right) as GATX's CEO next April. (Photos: GATX for Lyons and Kenney; Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Leadership at railcar lessor GATX will be changing next spring.

President and CEO Brian A. Kenney is retiring, effective April 22, and Robert C. Lyons, a GATX executive vice president and president of its Rail North America division, will succeed him, the company announced Tuesday.

Kenney will stay on as a nonexecutive chairman with GATX’s (NYSE: GATX) board of directors through Oct. 31 to ensure a smooth transition. 

Lyons leads GATX’s largest business and served as chief financial officer from 2004 to 2018. GATX’s board of directors appointed him, and at the 2022 annual shareholders meeting, the board will nominate Lyons to serve on the board.

“GATX is in a strong position today and Brian has provided outstanding leadership to set the company up for continued success,” said James Ream, lead director of the board. “He has thoughtfully expanded the portfolio of assets, both organically and through strategic acquisitions, enabling GATX to consistently generate industry-leading financial returns. Brian instituted a continuous improvement mindset throughout the company, setting the industry standard for safety, quality and customer service. He has also championed expanding opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds within GATX’s worldwide operations. Thanks to Brian’s leadership and vision, GATX has the finest team in the business and is recognized as the global leader in the full-service leasing of long-lived assets. …

“With the strong foundation established by Brian, the board is highly confident that Bob is the right leader to be GATX’s next CEO,” Ream continued. “The board ran a deliberate and thoughtful succession process with the assistance of Spencer Stuart, a leading global executive search and leadership consulting firm. Bob was selected for his strong business acumen, operational skills and vision needed to guide GATX to its next stage of growth and excellence. Bob has been intimately involved in shaping the company’s strategy and has been a significant contributor to GATX’s success as both the head of our largest business as well as our CFO for more than a decade.”

The change in leadership comes as railcar lessors, along with the broader rail industry, grapple with an anticipated rebound in rail volumes as well as supply chain challenges. Integrating technology and supply chain visibility is also a key issue.

“It has been a privilege to serve as CEO for the past 17 years and to work with the most dedicated team in the industry,” Kenney said. “I am proud of all that we have accomplished together, and I look forward to collaborating with Bob and our board of directors to help GATX achieve even higher levels of success. Bob has been a close partner to me, and his leadership, experience and vision will be critical in driving GATX forward as the premier global, full-service lessor.”

Said Lyons: “Together with the GATX leadership team and all our colleagues, I will build on the strong foundation and strategy that Brian established and ensure we continue to provide innovative, unparalleled service to our customers. With the dedication of our outstanding employees, I am excited about the future of GATX as we grow our global businesses, operate safely and deliver strong results for all our constituents.”

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.