Beyond CIO | episode 319

Cynthia Earhart, Chief Financial Officer of Norfolk Southern

December 11, 2017

Among other topics, Cynthia discusses the following issues with Metis Strategy:

  • Cynthia’s accounting and HR background prior to IT, how she found her way into IT, and how her new role represents the culmination of her skills and experiences
  • The myriad ways that Cynthia’s experience as a CIO will help her succeed as a CFO
  • Cynthia’s perspective on the CIO-CFO relationship, given her exposure to both sides
  • The value that IT delivers to Norfolk Southern
  • How the company drives itself to innovate, despite being in an industry with a high barrier to entry
  • Cynthia’s strategy going forward, as compared to that of her predecessor
  • The gains women have made in senior IT and finance positions

Cynthia is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Norfolk Southern, a $36 billion class 1 railroad. Since becoming CFO this past August, Cynthia has leveraged her financial and IT background to deliver value back to shareholders, as well as deliver productivity throughout the business.

Cynthia joined Norfolk Southern in 1985 and has held a variety of senior leadership positions at the company, including Chief Information Officer, Executive Vice President Administration, Vice President Human Resources, and Assistant Vice President Accounting Operations. Prior to joining Norfolk Southern, Cynthia was an accountant at Ernst & Young’s predecessor CPA firm, Ernst & Whinney.

Cynthia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Missouri and has completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.


The World Class IT principles in yellow were the focus of this interview

  • 01 1- People
  • 02 2- Infrastructure
  • 03 3- Project and Portfolio Management
  • 04 4- IT & Business Partnership
  • 05 5- External Partnerships

From strategy to implementation

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