Robert D. Krebs
Former President and CEO of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway
Former President and CEO of Santa Fe Railway
Former President of Southern Pacific Railroad
By any measure, Robert Krebs’ impact on the rail industry puts him in an elite tier of U.S. railroad CEOs. From his beginnings as a Southern Pacific management trainee, Krebs rose to become one of only a handful of leaders to head three Class Is and to oversee the merger of two major western roads.
When Krebs signed on in the mid-60s, railroads were a dying industry, burdened by regulation and losing tonnage to truck and airline competitors. Over the course of his 35-year career, Krebs witnessed the rebirth of America’s freight rail network into an essential component of our national infrastructure whose efficiency and technology are unmatched in the world.
In this three-hour interview with the Hall of Fame’s Brooks Bentz, Krebs talks about the challenges and triumphs of his life’s work on the Southern Pacific, the Santa Fe, and BNSF. In a seven-minute outtake titled ‘Vision and Values’ he shares candidly how he applied lessons from his own personal growth to ensure the success of the Santa Fe - Burlington Northern merger, laying the foundation for BNSF’s continued evolution into the powerhouse it is today.
Hall of Fame advisory group Chair Brooks Bentz with Anne and Rob Krebs
Bentz and Krebs at the Krebs home in
Lake Forest, Illinois