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Union PacificThe Reconfiguration: America's Greatest Railroad from 1969 to the Present$
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Maury Klein

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195369892

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195369892.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 September 2021

The Improbable Leader

The Improbable Leader

(p.293) 22 The Improbable Leader
Union Pacific

Maury Klein

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the management style of Dick Davidson as Union Pacific Railroad president and chief executive officer. Everyone agreed that Davidson was the logical choice to succeed Mike Walsh as president and CEO of the railroad, yet in many ways he seemed the most improbable of leaders. No one doubted his credentials as an operating officer, but he was very different from Walsh or former CEO Drew Lewis. He was neither smooth nor polished and had no experience beyond the operations arena. He loved being vice president of operations. Davidson believed strongly that the success or failure of a railroad company is almost totally attributable to operations. He created a new “reengineering team,” headed by Kip Hawley, whose mission was to find ways to boost productivity and quality of service. Neither Davidson nor anyone else could have imagined the immense changes heading for Union Pacific and the railroad industry more generally during the middle 1990s.

Keywords:   management, Dick Davidson, Union Pacific Railroad, Mike Walsh, Drew Lewis, operations, Kip Hawley, productivity, quality of service, railroad industry

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