Following the vacancy created by the departure of Keith Creel to assume the position of COO at rival CP, Claude Mongeau, President and CEO of CN announced the promotion of Jim Vena to the position of Executive Vice-President and COO. The day the announcement was made, shares of CN reached a new all-time high on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Vena, 54, will be based in Montreal. Replacing him as Senior Vice-President, Southern Region in Homewood, Ill., will be Jeff Liepelt, 53, who is currently Senior Vice-President, Eastern Region.
Mongeau welcomed Jim Vena to CN’s Leadership Team as its new Chief Operating Officer, and commented that “Jim has a wealth of railway experience and strong leadership skills. I am confident that he will help us drive our agenda of Operational and Service Excellence forward."
Vena said: "I am honoured to lead a very talented group of railroaders. CN is in many ways leading the railway industry with a strong customer focus. I look forward to helping the team continue to build momentum in delivering our bold agenda."
Vena joined CN in 1977 as a brakeman in Jasper, Alta. He has held progressively responsible assignments in operations and marketing, and led all three of CN’s operating regions.
Liepelt also started his railroading career as a brakeman when he joined the former Illinois Central Railroad (IC) in 1978, and has held positions of increasing responsibility at CN. IC was acquired by CN in 1999. A replacement for Liepelt as leader of CN’s Eastern Region will be named shortly.
Finally, in the context of CN’s leadership transition, Sameh Fahmy, Senior Vice-President, Engineering, Mechanical and Supply Management, 61, will retire on March 31, 2013. The three functions under Fahmy’s responsibility will report directly to Vena at that time.
Mongeau said: "I want to thank Sameh for his loyal service, tireless energy and the significant value he contributed to CN over the 23 years he worked with us. I wish him the very best in the next phase of his life."