Bill Ackman on Seeking a New CEO at Canadian Pacific

The CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management on his public crusade to install a new leader at Canadian Pacific Railway
Illustration by Jimmy Turrell

Once you have a big stake in a company, you can usually influence its strategy. Before we pick a target we run an algorithm we call Return on Invested Brain Damage—the return has to be high enough to justify the work. Most of the time, management is not the problem. At Canadian Pacific [of which we own 14 percent], you have a CEO who has underperformed for six years and runs the worst-performing railroad in North America. We’ve sought to replace him with a man who had the best track record in the industry at Canadian National: Hunter Harrison.

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