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Keith Creel, listens during an economic forum in Toronto in 2016. Mr. Creel took over as CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway in 2017, after his predecessor quit to pursue a job at CSX Corp.James MacDonald

Keith Creel made $20.1-million in his first year as chief executive officer of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. in a compensation scheme that was revamped under pressure from shareholders.

Mr. Creel's compensation includes a base salary of $1.4-million, a cash bonus of $2.4-million and stock-option awards worth $10.5-million, according to CP documents filed with regulators on Friday.

CP altered its compensation plan in 2017, after facing complaints from large shareholders and proxy advisory firms. The changes include better linkage of pay with corporate, safety and operational measures.

In response to shareholder concerns about gold-plated perks for executives, the board restricted personal use of the corporate jet to family visits for Mr. Creel, an American.

"CP has made changes to address our shareholder concerns," Andrew Reardon, CP chairman, said in a statement.

The company said in its filing, known as a proxy circular, Mr. Creel delivered "record financial performance" in 2017, and improved the operating ratio and safety record.

CP did not immediately respond to questions about the filing.

The railway's share price rose by 19 per cent in 2017, as the company's revenue increased by 5 per cent and profit per share rose by 55 per cent, or 11 per cent after adjustments. The TSX Composite Index rose by 6 per cent in the same period.

Mr. Creel quit Canadian National Railway Co. in 2013 to become Calgary-based CP's chief operating officer under his mentor, Hunter Harrison. Mr. Creel stepped into the top job in January, 2017, after Mr. Harrison quit to pursue a job at U.S. railway CSX Corp. Mr. Creel's compensation places him among the highest-paid CEOs in Canada, and exceeds the $18.8-million Mr. Harrison made in 2016.

As CP's operating chief in 2016, his compensation totalled $8.9-million.

Mr. Creel's pay package includes $926,000 in perks, including $570,000 for use of the jet and $33,000 in club memberships.

Mr. Harrison, who forfeited $123-million in compensation when he quit, was paid $6.8-million, most of which the company described as "postemployment payments." He died in December, at the age of 73, as CEO of CSX.

Nadeem Velani, CP's chief financial officer, saw his compensation double to $2.1-million in his first year as an executive vice-president.

Robert Johnson, executive vice-president of operations, made $2.8-million, including a cash bonus worth almost $600,000.

CP's new approach to compensation was approved by 71 per cent of shareholder votes at the annual meeting last year. In 2016, 49.9 per cent voted against the earlier version of the plan.

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Tickers mentioned in this story

Study and track financial data on any traded entity: click to open the full quote page. Data updated as of 17/05/24 4:00pm EDT.

SymbolName% changeLast
CNI-N
Canadian National Railway
+0.61%127.34
CNR-T
Canadian National Railway Co.
+0.49%173.19
CP-N
Canadian Pacific Kansas City Ltd
+0.39%82.06
CP-T
Canadian Pacific Kansas City Ltd
+0.34%111.67
CSX-Q
CSX Corp
-1.21%33.52

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