David G. A. McLean, chairman of the board of directors of CN, announced the board’s selection of Claude Mongeau to succeed E. Hunter Harrison as president and chief executive officer of the company at the end of 2009.

Mongeau, 47, currently CN’s executive vice-president and chief financial officer, has held successively senior positions since joining the company in 1994.

McLean said: “CN’s board of directors is delighted to announce the selection of Claude Mongeau. The board thoroughly reviewed the company’s future strategic priorities and the skills and attributes required of our new CEO. We are confident that Claude is the best candidate to build on the successes achieved to date.

“Claude is an exceptional executive and leader. He is one of the architects of CN’s industry-leading financial performance and the key strategist behind the highly successful rail acquisitions that have grown CN’s reach throughout North America and made it a key industry player. He has a keen appreciation of the power of CN’s unique business model - Precision Railroading - and will be supported by an outstanding team of railroaders.”

Mongeau said: “I deeply appreciate the board’s confidence and I look forward to leading CN. I am excited about the company’s future and firmly believe market trends strongly favor the growth of rail transportation. CN is superbly positioned for the future, thanks to the work of Hunter Harrison and our executive team, and I am committed to fulfilling that potential by continuing to drive innovation, greater efficiency and better service for our customers.”

Harrison, 64, became CN’s president and chief executive on Jan. 1, 2003. Prior to that he served as CN’s executive vice-president and chief operating officer.

McLean said: “Hunter is a seminal figure in the railroad business, with his ground breaking Precision Railroading operating model that’s driven significant efficiency gains and shareholder value at CN. He has provided outstanding leadership and service at CN, leading to the creation of a great North American railroad and grooming an excellent successor. Hunter also devoted countless hours to training the next generation of great railroaders at CN. Today’s announcement begins an orderly period of leadership transition at CN that will maintain CN’s position as an industry leader in creating value for customers and shareholders.”

Harrison said: “Claude is a key member of my management team at CN, and I have the greatest confidence in his abilities. I’ve worked very closely with him on every aspect of the business. Over the next few months Claude and I will work very closely together to ensure a seamless transition at year-end.”

As executive vice-president and chief financial officer, Mongeau has led CN’s strategic planning process and is responsible for the overall financial management of CN, as well as the information technology function.