Keith Creel calls on nearly a decade of experience working with the Canadian Pacific Railway to discuss his strategies for leadership and how he’s turned the company around over five years in charge. Creel discusses all you need to know about the rail industry and how it affects our daily lives, what changes he sees coming in the future for the industry, how he thinks about leadership in times of change, and how Canadian Pacific secured a $27 billion deal to take over its rival, Kansas City Southern.
Release Date: November 15.
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Creel became the President and CEO of Canadian Pacific in 2017, giving him executive control of one of the largest Class 1 rail systems in North America, with more than 13,000 miles of rail network stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In 2021 he helped broker a deal that marked the first major merger in the railroad industry in the U.S. in two decades, and created the first freight rail network linking Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
Because of the way we run on a railroad, we’ve not been perfect, you’re never going to be perfect, but our service experience for our customers is uniquely different than our competitors. And that’s kind of the magic recipe. If I go in and tell you I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it.
And as a leader, to me, that’s what leadership’s about. You have to create a vision, you got to tell people what’s important and why it’s important. You got to hold them accountable and you got to motivate them.
I’ve always preached that I believe the leader sets the example. You don’t ask your people to do anything you’re not willing to do yourself.
“Any deal, it depends on certainty and value. Those are the two key fundamentals that a board of directors have to take into account.”