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CN Rail replaces CEO Luc Jobin

A CN locomotive goes through the CN Taschereau yard in Montreal, Saturday, Nov., 28, 2009. .
A CN locomotive goes through the CN Taschereau yard in Montreal, Saturday, Nov., 28, 2009. . THE CANADIAN PRESS /Graham Hughes /File

CN Rail announced Monday the immediate departure of chief executive officer Luc Jobin. The move follows service problems over the past few months.

The company announced Jobin’s departure in a statement released Monday morning.

The Montreal-based company said it recognizes the railway has had operational and customer service challenges since last fall
when it experienced what the statement called “insufficient network resiliency.”

In October, the company said it was on a hiring spree because it didn’t have enough crews to handle increased demand prompted by a stronger North American economy.

Jobin will be replaced temporarily by executive vice-president Jean-Jacques Riest, until a permanent successor takes office.

“The administration council believes the company needs a leader that will revitalize the team, to materialize CN’s vision and help the company progress with the speed and determination that characterize CN,” the company’s president, Robert Pace said.

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READ MORE: CN freight train derailment causes cancellations for VIA Rail passengers

The country’s largest railroad company has already launched an international recruitment process to find its next boss.

Weather conditions were particularly difficult during the winter which complicated transport of goods for CN and Canadian Pacific (CP), which translated into punctuality issues for both companies.

Recently, CN’s financial director, Ghislain Houle, told investors during a conference that CN was limited to three out of four days of activity during the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year, because the length of trains had to be reduced to half, which diminished its capabilities.

More trains were mobilized in order to move the same amount of goods.

READ MORE: Winter weather creating specific challenges for railway operations

In an email, Cameron Doerksen, an analyst with Banque Nationale said it was a “surprise announcement” from the rail company.

“From the release, it’s clear that the council’s decision to replace Mr. Jobin is mainly attributable to the challenges the company faced last fall,” Doerksen said.

According to Doerksen, problems in the past few months could translate into client loss and soil the company’s reputation.

He added it wouldn’t be a surprise if CN’s next boss is recruited externally.

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