Viterra, CN name new senior VPs

Grain company Viterra and Canadian National Railway (CN) on Tuesday both confirmed new occupants in their executive offices.

CN will move Mike Cory, its senior vice-president for the eastern region, from Toronto to Edmonton, where he will become the company’s senior vice-president, western region.

Cory started with CN as a labourer in 1981 at the railway’s Symington Yard Diesel Shop in Winnipeg, the company noted. Since then, he has held a succession of leadership positions in field, regional, and network operations management.

Jeff Liepelt, currently vice-president of operations for the railway’s U.S.-based southern region, will now be CN’s vice-president, eastern region, based in Toronto. Liepelt came up through Illinois Central, where he started in 1978 as a brakeman, and has worked for IC and CN in Chicago, Memphis,

Winnipeg, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Jim Vena, currently senior vice-president for the western region, will now be senior vice-president, southern region, and will be based in Chicago. Vena joined CN in 1977 as a brakeman at Jasper, Alta., and has worked in CN’s operations and marketing throughout Canada.

Vena replaces Gordon Trafton, who now becomes CN’s senior vice-president for strategic acquisitions and integration, starting with the continued integration of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway Co., a Chicago-area shortline CN bought earlier this year. Trafton will remain based in Chicago.

Corporate affairs

At Regina-based Viterra, the company has promoted Colleen Vancha to the post of senior vice-president, investor relations and corporate affairs.

Vancha, who oversees investor relations, public affairs and brand management programs for Viterra, joined what was then Saskatchewan Wheat Pool in 1988 and established its investor relations division in 1996 when SaskPool went public.

She also “played a key role in the company’s restructuring, recapitalization and subsequent acquisition of Agricore United,” Viterra said, and has recently “taken on a more global focus in working to increase the visibility of Viterra among a variety of international stakeholders.”

Viterra also named Ray Dean as senior vice-president, general counsel/corporate secretary, adding “senior” to the title Dean has held at the company since 2003.

Dean was previously a partner with Balfour Moss Barristers and Solicitors and also provided counsel for the BC Hydro and Power Authority as a solicitor specializing in contracts for both domestic and international power sales (1991-96). Viterra on Tuesday cited Dean’s “significant experience in securities law and corporate governance matters.”

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