Posts Tagged ‘CN executives’

CN Names Robinson as Next CEO

January 26, 2022

Tracy Robinson has been named the new president and chief executive officer of Canadian National.

She will assume her new posts on Feb. 28 upon the retirement of CEO Jean-Jacques Ruest.

Robinson is currently with TC Energy where she holds the position of executive vice president and serves as president of TC divisions Canadian Natural Gas Pipelines, and Coastal GasLink.

She has been with TC Energy since 2014. Previously Robinson worked for 27 years in executive positions in operations, commercial and finance at Canadian Pacific.

Ruest, who has been at CN for 25 years, announced his retirement last year pending the appointment of his replacement.

“She knows the railroad,” Ruest said during a conference call with investors on Tuesday. “She knows the network. She knows the competition. She’s passionate about railroading. In my view, she is a railroader.”

Ruest said Robinson’s experience in the energy industry will help CN tap into the ongoing energy boom in Western Canada, including the development of hydrogen and growth in the petrochemical sector.

Robinson earned a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Saskatchewan.

The Globe and Mail of Toronto reported that Robinson has pledged to learn to speak French.

The newspaper said this was a bid to avoid the type of controversy that ensnared Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau after he gave a speech last year in Montreal in English and was unable to speak with reporters in French.

Robinson said she wants to be able to communicate better with CN’s francophone employees.

In a related development, CN and one of its large shareholders, TCI Fund Management, have settled their differences and the hedge fund will drop its proxy contest.

TCI had sought to name is own slate of company directors and top executives after becoming disenchanted with CN’s financial and stock performance. TCI also had been critical of CN’s failed effort to acquire Kansas City Southern last year.

CN and TCI have agreed to collaborate on the naming of two independent directors to the CN board to be appointed by the time of CN’s annual meeting this year.

In the meantime, CN said it has named former politician Jean Charest as an independent director. Current CN board member Shauneen Bruder was named vice-chair of the board.

CN Exec Steps Down; Canadian Teamsters go on Strike

November 20, 2019

Canadian National has announced the resignation of Michael Foster, its executive vice president and chief information and technology officer.

Foster plans to leave CN on Nov. 29. In a news release CN said Foster plans to move back to the United States to be close to his family and to pursue other career opportunities.

CN said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rob Reilly will assume interim responsibility for the company’s information and technology function, while a global search for a permanent successor is conducted.

In an unrelated development involving CN, members of Teamsters Canada walked off job on Tuesday after failing to reach a new contract agreement.

It is the first strike against a North American Class 1 railroad in a decade.
Striking are 3,000 conductors, trainmen and yard workers. The Teamsters Canadian Rail Conference, which represents the workers and is CN’s largest union at CN, had issued a 72-hour strike notice on Nov. 16.

The union said negotiations with CN had reached a stalemate over health and safety issues.

CN Names 3 Senior Executives

August 16, 2018

Canadian National has appointed three high-level executives, all of them having experience with the precision scheduled railroading operating model.

The Montreal-based railroad said Doug MacDonald and Keith Reardon will head CN’s sales and marketing initiatives and all non-rail supply chain operations, such as intermodal container terminals and transload facilities.

John Orr, an experienced operator across CN’s three regions, has been named senior vice-president and chief transportation officer responsible for day-to-day rail operations.

MacDonald previously served as vice-president of bulk and will now be the senior VP of rail-centric supply chain growth. He will oversee the expansion of the bulk and merchandise carload businesses.

Reardon, who had been VP of intermodal and automotive, will be senior VP of consumer product supply chain growth. He will oversee the expansion of the intermodal and automotive businesses.

MacDonald and Reardon will directly manage their supply chain performance and have the ability to effectively adapt all last-mile services for customers.

Orr will lead day-to-day scheduled railroad operations in the field across CN’s three regions and the network operations group.

CN also said that Derek Taylor, previously general manager of CN’s southern region operations center, has been promoted to VP of the southern region, based in Homewood, Illinois.

CN Service Issues Led to CEO Ouster

March 15, 2018

Like CSX, Canadian National encountered service issues last year. Unlike at CSX, the Montreal-based CN decided that it needed more capital spending and to hire additional employees to resolve the problems. It also decided it needed a new CEO.

Speaking on Wednesday at the J.P. Morgan Aviation, Transportation & Industrials Conference, CN’s interim president and CEO said the railroad’s board of directors had been considering for several months replacing CEO Luc Jobin before ousting him last week.

“The board has been thinking long and hard about the leadership at CN,” said Jean-Jacques Ruest, who replaced Jobin. “They decided it was a time to make a change in leadership,” in order to bring more energy and a sense of urgency to fixing the railroad’s service problems, Ruest said.

In fairness, the services issues that CN faced had different roots than those at CSX.

Nonetheless, in commenting about CN’s dismissal of Jobin, Trains magazine noted that it is uncommon for a railroad to get rid of its CEO when the carrier faces a severe service crisis.

The magazine noted that in the past 25 years railroads have stood by their CEOs amid such situations as Union Pacific’s meltdown after acquiring Southern Pacific, the problems that persisted after CSX and Norfolk Southern divided Conrail, and BNSF’s congestion issues in 2013 and 2014.

CN’s woes began last fall when traffic surged by more than 20 percent in western Canada. The result was congestion on main lines and yards that left CN short of operating crews and motive power.

Further aggravating the situation was hard winter weather, derailments, and related line shutdowns that prompted CN to shorten, delay and detour trains.

That increased costs, lowered average train speeds and increased the time that cars spent in yards.

Ruest said the worst of the cold weather has ended and CN has begun to lengthen its trains.

CN management also decided to acquire additional locomotives, hire additional crews and increase track capacity in western Canada.

The added motive power will include 130 leased units and 200 new engines. The latter will be built between 2018 and 2020 and include GE Transportation ET44AC and ES44AC models.

Ruest said it’s likely that CN will see how the network is performing later this year before determining how to proceed as new motive power arrives.

He also said CN is seeking to perfect its traffic volume forecasting and capital planning process so as to avoid service problems again.

Ruest said CN still expects 2018 volume traffic growth of 3 to 5 percent and will continue its long-term strategy to collaborate with customers and grow faster than the overall North American economy.

“We have not changed strategy even though we have changed the CEO of the company,” Ruest said.

In the meantime the CN board is seeking a permanent CEO and many financial analysts expect Ruest to get the nod.

Jobin Abruptly Leaves as CN CEO

March 6, 2018

Canadian National CEO Luc Jobin has been ousted after two years in the position.

The Montreal-based Class 1 railroad did not give a specific reason why Jobin left other than to issue a statement that its board of directors “believes the company needs a leader who will energize the team, realize CN’s corporate vision and take the company forward with the speed and determination CN is known for.”

The board named Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jean-Jacques Ruest as interim president and CEO “until a permanent replacement is in place.”

Railway Age magazine quoted Cowen & Company Managing Director Jason Seidl as saying that Jobin’s abrupt departure “will no doubt leave investors with more questions than answers in the short term.”

Seidl said CN has what he termed “a deep management bench.” He expects Ruest to be respected by investors and customers alike and to likely become CN’s permanent CEO. Ruest has been at CN for 22 years.

“Investors have already had to endure a nearly 9 percent drop in CN’s shares this year, making it the worst performing Class I railroad year to date,” Seidl said. “Today’s news is likely to exacerbate this gap somewhat. However, we remain confident in the company’s ability to recover and deliver value to its shareholders over the long term. Indeed, CN has a long history of being one of the best performing railroads in North America with a laser focus on its customers. We do not believe this will change, but this may be little solace for those with shorter investment time horizons.”

CN Names 2 to Top Executive Posts

June 29, 2016

Canadian National has appointed Mike Cory as executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Ghislain Houle as executive vice president and chief financial officer. The appointments are effective July 1.

Canadian NationalCory, 54, joined CN in 1981, working in the Symington Yard diesel shop in Winnipeg and going on to hold various positions in operations. He was most recently senior vice president, western region.

Houle, 52, joined CN in 1997 as chief of internal audit and was most recently vice-president and corporate comptroller.

Both men will be based at CN headquarters in Montreal.

CN’s Mongeau to Retire as CEO June 30

June 8, 2016

Canadian National President and CEO Claude Mongeau plans to retire from his post at the end of June, citing health reasons.

Mongeau took a six-month medical leave last year to seek surgical treatment for a rare type of tumor in his throat. He returned to work in January.

Canadian NationalHe will be succeeded on July 1 by Chief Financial Officer Luc Jobin.

“I was filled with joy returning at the helm earlier this year, but I gradually came to realize that it is difficult to fulfill such a demanding ‎role given my new condition as a laryngectomee,” Mongeau said in statement. “I sincerely thank the key members of my leadership team and my fellow CN directors for their understanding and support in the circumstances.”

His career at CN has spanned 22, including serving as CEO for the past 6.5 years and before that as chief financial officer for 11 years.

Jobin joined CN in 2009 as executive vice president and CFO, following a career as senior executive at Imasco, Imperial Tobacco, British American Tobacco and Power Corp.

He coordinated CN’s leadership team during Mongeau’s medical leave.

Mongeau is credited with helping to oversee CN’s acquisition of the Illinois Central, Bessemer & Lake Erie, Elgin, Joliet and Eastern, and other railroads that expanded CN’s North American network.