Departing CP Rail CEO and Activist Said to Take Aim at CSX

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Hunter Harrison.

Photographer: Chris Goodney/Bloomberg

Hunter Harrison, the outgoing chief executive officer of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., is teaming up with activist investor Paul Hilal to target CSX Corp., according to a person familiar with the matter.

The pair is likely to push to install Harrison in a leadership position at the U.S. railroad, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Hilal worked for years with billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman before starting his own fund.

Harrison, 72, is stepping down from Canadian Pacific months ahead of schedule and forfeiting C$118 million ($89 million) in benefits, the company said Wednesday. A separation agreement gives him a “limited waiver” of his non-competition obligations.

Ackman enlisted Harrison about five years ago to help him wage a proxy fight against Canadian Pacific, with the goal of replacing then-CEO Fred Green after years of underperformance. Once installed in mid-2012, Harrison began cutting staff, parking locomotives and running faster trains to improve efficiency and cash flow.

CSX surged 15 percent to $42.25 at 7:10 a.m. Thursday in New York premarket trading. The company declined to comment in an e-mailed statement.

The CSX effort planned by Harrison and Hilal was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

— With assistance by Thomas Black

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