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Canadian National Railway names new CEO, easing tussle with investor

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FILE PHOTO: A Canadian National Railway train travels westward on a track in Montreal
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(Reuters) -Canadian National Railway on Tuesday named industry veteran Tracy Robinson as the new chief executive officer, soothing a months-long tussle with its second-largest shareholder over leadership at the railroad operator.

Robinson will replace Jean-Jacques Ruest, who announced his decision to step down from the role in October following investor demands for his exit after Canadian National's failed bid for Kansas City Southern.

Canadian National will also appoint two new independent directors as a part of the settlement with TCI Fund Management, which has agreed to withdraw a requisition for a special meeting of shareholders that was previously slated for March 22.

Billionaire Chris Hohn's TCI in September nominated four independent directors to the company's board. It has been seeking a change since August, saying the board lacked "the right railroad experience and operational expertise." nL4N2QF364]

Robinson, who takes over the top role from Feb. 28, spent 27 years with Canadian Pacific Railway in various executive roles, before joining North American energy company TC Energy in 2014.

Canadian National said Robinson has made it a personal priority to build proficiency in French, the sole official language of Canada's Quebec province, which houses the company's headquarters.

The statement comes after a language furor rattled corporate Quebec last year, leaving some companies scrambling to improve the French-speaking skills of their C-suite executives.

Canadian National also announced quarterly results on Tuesday.

It reported an adjusted profit of C$1.71 per share in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, beating market expectations of C$1.53 per share.

(Reporting by Rithika Krishna in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)