Edward J. Whalen has come out of retirement to become the new president and CEO of FreightCar America, Inc.
Whalen follows Christian B. Ragot, who had served as president and CEO since April 30, 2007, and has left the railcar builder by "mutual consent," according to the company.
Whalen, 61, has nearly 40 years of railcar industry experience, including broad expertise in finance, leasing, marketing and sales. He joined FreightCar America as one of a group of investors who acquired the predecessor company in 1991 from Bethlehem Steel. He most recently served as FreightCar America's senior vice president of marketing and sales, from December 2004 to September 2008, when he retired. Prior to joining FreightCar America, Whalen spent 19 years at Pullman, Inc., last serving as president of Pullman Leasing Company.
"I am pleased to rejoin FreightCar America in this new role," Whalen said. "My top priorities are twofold. First and foremost, given the anticipated continued weakness in railcar orders, we need to optimize the company's performance in 2010, with a continued view to preserving our strong balance sheet. At the same time, we will look for prudent ways to leverage the company's existing strengths and capabilities to broaden its business focus to address the entire railcar lifecycle."
FreightCar America, based in Chicago with manufacturing plants in Danville, Ill., and Roanoke, Va., builds railroad freight cars, with particular expertise in coal-carrying railcars. It also designs and builds bulk commodity cars, flat cars, mill gondola cars, intermodal cars, coil steel cars and motor vehicle carriers.