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Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN

EVP/CFO Mongeau to succeed Harrison as CN's top officer


The father of scheduled and “precision” railroading, and CN’s leader for more than six years is stepping down from the Class I’s top post at year’s end. Today, CN announced President and Chief Executive Officer E. Hunter Harrison will be succeeded by Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Claude Mongeau on Jan. 1, 2010.

Harrison, 64, became president and CEO on Jan. 1, 2003. He previously served as CN's EVP and chief operating officer for five years. Prior to joining CN in 1998, Harrison was president and CEO of the Illinois Central Corp. and Illinois Central Railroad Co.

During his 46-year railroading career — which began as a carman-oiler for the St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad — Harrison also served stints as VP of transportation and VP of service design for the Burlington Northern Railroad, and VP/COO, senior VP of transportation and SVP of operations for the Illinois Central.

As CN’s president and CEO, he has managed the company according to five guiding principles: service, cost control, asset utilization, safety and people. In 2005, Harrison authored “How We Work and Why,” a book that chronicles how CN railroaders think and operate, and what it takes to run a railroad using the five principles.

"Hunter is a seminal figure in the railroad business, with his ground-breaking Precision Railroading operating model that's driven significant efficiency gains and shareholder value at CN,” said CN Chairman David McLean in a prepared statement. “He has provided outstanding leadership and service at CN, leading to the creation of a great North American railroad and grooming an excellent successor. Hunter also devoted countless hours to training the next generation of great railroaders at CN.”

Mongeau, 47, has held various senior positions since joining the Class I in 1994, including SVP and CFO, VP-strategic and financial planning, and assistant VP of corporate development. He previously was a partner with Montreal-based management consulting firm Groupe Secor and worked in the business development unit of holding company Imasco Inc.

As CN’s top financial officer, Mongeau has led the railroad's strategic planning process and is responsible for overall financial management, as well as information technology.

"Claude is an exceptional executive and leader,” said McLean. “He is one of the architects of CN's industry-leading financial performance and the key strategist behind the highly successful rail acquisitions that have grown CN's reach throughout North America and made it a key industry player.”

Adds Harrison: "Claude is a key member of my management team at CN, and I have the greatest confidence in his abilities. Over the next few months, Claude and I will work very closely together to ensure a seamless transition at year end."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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