Skip to main content
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
Get full digital access to globeandmail.com
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
// //

A CN train passes by Dorval station in Montreal, January 23, 2012.

Christinne Muschi/The Globe and Mail

Canadian National Railway has promoted long-time employee Jim Vena to fill the position of chief operating officer, left vacant with the departure of Keith Creel to rival Canadian Pacific.

Italian-born Vena, 54, joined the railway in 1977 as a brakeman in Alberta and rose through the ranks to oversee all three of CN's operating regions. He will move to Montreal from Illinois, where he was senior vice-president of the southern region.

CN chief executive officer Claude Mongeau said Vena has "a wealth of railway experience and strong leadership skills" that will help drive the railway's agenda of operational and service excellence.

Story continues below advertisement

Replacing Vena as head of the southern region is Jeff Liepelt, 53, currently senior vice-president of the eastern region. Liepelt also started his career as a brakeman at the former Illinois Central Railroad in 1978, which was acquired by CN in 1999.

Analysts had expected that CN would move quickly to replace Creel from within by either Vena or Mike Cory, senior vice-president of the western region.

The Montreal-based railway also announced Tuesday the retirement next month of Sameh Fahmy, 61, senior vice-president, engineering, mechanical and supply management. The three functions overseen by Fahmy will report directly to Vena.

Canadian Pacific hired Creel, 45, earlier this month to be its second-in-command and a likely successor to CEO Hunter Harrison, who came out of retirement last year to improve the performance of the Calgary-based railway.

The two railways resolved a legal dispute that arose after Harrison, a retired former head of CN, joined CP. As part of the settlement, CP has agreed not to hire "certain CN employees" until Dec. 31, 2016. Other terms of the deal are confidential.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies