The announcement in 1962 provoked outrage and shock. The French-speaking candidate does not have the skills needed to occupy one of the 17 Vice Presidential positions of the Canadian National (CN), according to its President Donald Gordon. Sixty years later, CN, still headquartered in downtown Montreal, believes that this time the French-speaking manager does not have the skills to sit on its board of directors. A sad step back.
Posted at 6:30 p.m.
Following the scandal of Air Canada’s English-speaking CEO Michael Rousseau’s monolingual speech at the Montreal Chamber of Commerce podium last fall, a new spring language controversy has erupted with the decision not to be now a Canadian national. To nominate any French speaking candidate to sit on its Board of Directors.
The new controversy is likely to make more noise than ever before as Legault warned the company before the announcement last January of the appointment of Tracy Robinson, CN’s new monolingual English-speaking CEO.
Kaisse Depot, one of CN’s 10 largest shareholders, also sharply criticized the anachronistic disorder on Wednesday, which seems to take us back to the days of CEO Donald Gordon’s racist statements in 1962.
With a new board of directors welcoming three new directors, two Americans and an Alberton, Jean-Charles, who was appointed to the CN board in January, resigned to carry, and none of the French-speaking directors took part in the board meeting discussions. Returned to politics.
Rather than finding a Quebec candidate in the vast and diverse field of experienced managers in Quebec, CN preferred to hire an Alberta manager to fill the vacancy left by Jean Charrest.
Arriving Wednesday evening, Sean Finn, executive vice president of corporate services and chief legal officer of CN, agreed that the situation was not conducive to the company’s image and that the board of directors was fully aware of the language problem in Quebec. .
“We were shocked by Mr Charest’s decision to get into politics. He was appointed on January 25 for a five-year term and announced his resignation 22 days later. Those who were qualified to fill that position had to be replaced quickly.
“We need a Canadian director to get a majority of 6 Canadians and 5 Americans on the board and we have named the candidate with a profile we know well and we need,” Sean Finn explained.
But why not take the time to unearth a candidate manager from Quebec to spark the flames of an already suffocating language crisis?
“The situation will be resolved next year. Two departures are expected from directors whose terms expire in the next few months. We will rectify the situation and the board is well aware of the issues,” the executive vice president stressed.
One year in the flood
Since its privatization in 1992, CN has always been led by a French-speaking CEO, with the exception of the interruption of the successful Hunter Harrison regime, which lasted 10 years as president of Paul Tellier from 2003 to 2009.
After Hunter Harrison, Claude Mongo became the CEO of Luke Jabin and most recently Jean-Jacques Rust Carrier.
As we all know, CN’s senior management has had to navigate difficult terrain throughout the past year because it has been plagued by an active shareholder, the London – based TCI Hedge Fund, which seeks changes in the company’s management. Performance is low.
TCI eventually received two directorships on CN’s next board, two US managers filling the two vacancies. The third to be occupied by Jean Charrest was Alberton Susan c. Assigned to Jones.
However, despite the contingencies that CN had to resort to, the linguistic sensitivity of large Quebec companies – which was greatly exacerbated by the Air Canada affair – should have lit up some red lights, with nothing mentioned in the circular’s explanation of the information to shareholders. .
In this circular, we learn that there will be no directors from Quebec on CN’s Board of Directors, but three from Alberta, two from Ontario, one from British Columbia and five from the United States. .
Reading the document, you feel like you are going back 60 years and you do not feel like playing again in this bad old movie.