CP top official gets praise, another year in driver’s seat

American railroad executive Hunter Harrison has agreed to stay on as head of Canadian Pacific Railway for an additional year.

CP’s board of directors announced May 7 that Harrison has agreed to a one-year contract extension, which allows him to stay on as the company’s top executive until 2017.

Harrison joined CP in June 2012, not long after he retired as chief executive officer at Canada’s other major railway company, Canadian National Railway.

“When Hunter was brought in to lead the transformational change of this iconic company, the agreement was for four years, plus an option for an additional year,” said CP chair Gary Colter in a May 7 news release.

“In seeing CP’s rapid turnaround under Hunter’s leadership, the board was unanimous in wanting him to stay on until 2017 and we are ex-tremely pleased he has accepted.”

Despite widespread criticism from grain shippers and other railway customers, CP announced record revenues of $6.1 billion in 2013 and net income of $875 million, or $4.96 per share, up from $484 million or $2.79 per share in 2012.

Harrison took a variety of steps aimed at cutting costs and increasing railway efficiency.

Among those moves was a workforce adjustment plan aimed at eliminating 4,500 jobs at CP by 2016.

Harrison has been vocally critical of federal government plans to impose tougher regulations on Canada’s major railway carriers to ensure more reliable service for the grain industry.

“I am honoured the board of directors asked me to remain in a leadership role for an extra year,” said Harrison.  “Even though CP has experienced phenomenal success in a short period of time, there remains a lot to accomplish over the next three years to grow this company even further with our customers and shareholders.”

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