Edward G. Jordan, 72, first chairman and chief executive of Conrail, the federally assisted corporation created to salvage the bankrupt Northeast rail freight system, died Dec. 26 at his vacation home in Bend, Ore., of esophageal cancer.
Known for his ability to turn around struggling corporations, Jordan was appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1974 to head the U.S. Railway Assn. and a year later was named head of Consolidated Rail Corp. He was successful in solving the problems of the poorly run transportation organization and resigned in 1980, after Conrail had two consecutive profitable quarters.
A native of Oakland, Jordan graduated from UC Berkeley and earned an MBA at Stanford. He worked for several major corporations, including Ford Motor Co. and Procter & Gamble.
After leaving Conrail, Jordan served as dean of the business school at Cornell University and then president of American College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., which instructs insurance professionals. He also served on the California Transportation Commission in the late 1980s.