CSX Corp. reached a tentative agreement that will make railroad turnaround specialist Hunter Harrison chief executive officer, said people familiar with the negotiations.

Harrison, 72, will be given a four-year contract, said the people, who asked not to be named because the agreement hasn’t been made public. Mantle Ridge, the activist fund started by Paul Hilal that joined forces with Harrison, will nominate five directors to the 12-member board of the Jacksonville, Florida-based railroad, one person said. Shareholders will vote on whether to approve $84 million as part of a larger compensation package for Harrison.

Harrison’s appointment sets up a new challenge for Harrison, a career railroader who made Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. into a top performer, solidified Canadian National Railway Co. as the leanest North American railroad and overhauled Illinois Central. He’s set to be named to his latest job less than two months after resigning from Canadian Pacific, which he transformed with a four-year drive to cut costs and speed up service.

Representatives for CSX and Mantle Ridge declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the deal to appoint Harrison as CEO.

Bloomberg News