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Ackman’s Pershing Is Said to Urge CEO Switch at Canadian Pacific Railway


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William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management LP, the largest shareholder in Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP), urged the carrier to hire the former chief executive officer of rival Canadian National Railway Co. (CNR), a person familiar with the matter said.


Some directors are eager to meet with Hunter Harrison, who led Canadian National from 2003 through 2009, after Pershing recommended him as a replacement for CEO Fred Green, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. The U.S. shares rose the most in a month.


A CEO switch would follow the strategy Ackman pursued at J.C. Penney Co. (JCP), which brought in Apple Inc.’s retail chief, Ron Johnson, this year after Pershing became the department-store chain’s biggest investor. Canadian National’s net income more than tripled during Harrison’s tenure.


The retired CEO, 67, enjoys “celebrity-like status among investors,” and hiring him probably would boost the stock, Jason Seidl, a Dahlman Rose & Co. analyst in New York, wrote in a note today. He rates Canadian Pacific as “hold.”

Harrison has postponed any meetings with Canadian Pacific until after tomorrow, the date through which he is barred from working for a Canadian National competitor, the person said. Harrison has spoken with Pershing and is interested in returning to work, the person said.

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UPDATE 1-Canadian Pacific dismisses reports on CEO replacement


Jan 3 (Reuters) - Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd said it was still willing to continue talks with activist investor William Ackman on the company's strategy and dismissed media reports that the railroad operator was willing to consider Ackman's nomination for CEO.


Ackman wants the company to replace CEO Fred Green with Canadian National Railway's ex-chief Hunter Harrison.


Canadian Pacific had expressed concerns over Harrison's contract with Canadian National and his non-compete arrangements, the company's chairman John Cleghorn said in a letter to Ackman, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


Cleghorn also said no Canadian Pacific board member "expressed enthusiasm for Mr. Harrison and requested a meeting with him."


"Indeed, no invitation has been extended by us to Mr. Harrison, either directly or via Pershing Square."


Ackman, whose hedge fund Pershing Square Capital has a 14.2 percent stake in Canadian Pacific, has raised questions about CP's poor operating performance and about its management, although earlier this month the fund said discussions with the Canadian railroad had been productive.



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