Trinity Industries names new chief executive officer

Dallas-based Trinity Industries (NYSE: TRN) has named E. Jean Savage as the company’s new chief executive officer and president, effective Feb. 17. Savage is currently the vice president of the surface mining and technology division for construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT). 

She is also a member of Trinity’s board of directors and will remain on the rail equipment manufacturer and lessor’s board following her appointment.

“Trinity has transformed as a company to become a leading rail-focused platform of businesses. Management and the board are focused on optimizing the platform to fully capture the financial and commercial benefits it enables, as well as pursuing innovative service solutions to further enhance the value proposition for customers,” Savage said.

Savage has spent 17 years at Caterpillar and has been in her current role since 2017, overseeing the surface mining and technology division’s handling of product design, development, operations and sales. She also was responsible for Caterpillar’s sales and marketing and technology groups. From 2014 to 2017, Savage was chief technology officer and vice president of Caterpillar’s innovation and technology development division.

Savage previously had leadership roles at Caterpillar’s subsidiary Progress Rail Services, a rail equipment supplier and lessor. At Progress Rail, she was senior vice president and chief operating officer of the locomotive and railcar services business unit from 2002 to 2013. She also served as vice president for quality and continuous improvement and vice president of Progress Rail’s freight car repair, parts and quality divisions.

Savage also worked for 14 years at Parker Hannifin, a motion and control technologies company, and she served as an intelligence officer for nine years in the U.S. Army Reserve.

“She has a proven track record transforming other large organizations and deep experience optimizing manufacturing operations and corporate infrastructure,” said Leldon Echols, Trinity’s non-executive chairman. “Jean’s knowledge of Trinity and the rail industry will enable her to hit the ground running in her new leadership role while at the same time bringing fresh perspective to the company as we continue to deliver on our customers’ expectations and strive to enhance the value we create for our shareholders.”

Until Savage joins the company, Trinity will be led by an interim CEO team. The team, which replaced outgoing CEO Timothy Wallace as of Jan. 1, consists of Melendy E. Lovett, senior vice president and chief financial officer; Eric R. Marchetto, senior vice president and group president; and Sarah R. Teachout, senior vice president and chief legal officer, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Savage’s appointment comes as the rail industry faced volume declines in 2019 and systemic declines in coal volumes. Almost all of the Class I railroads also have deployed some form of precision scheduled railroading. Both of these factors affected the market dynamics for railcar leasing last year.

In November, Trinity announced the promotion of Gregg B. Mitchell to chief commercial officer for TrinityRail. Trinity Industries markets its rail products and leasing businesses under the trade name TrinityRail.

“I am confident that together we can deliver both strong financial and operational performance throughout the rail cycle,” Savage said.