CN CEO says French-speaking board member to be appointed soon

by The Canadian Press (CPSTF)

The new chief executive of Canadian National Railway Co. did not apologize on behalf of her company for the absence of francophones on its board of directors.

Tracy Robinson

Tracy Robinson told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday that she is committed to appointing a French-speaking director from Quebec very soon.

Speaking partly in French, a language she has been learning since joining the railway three months ago, Robinson told the standing committee on official languages that the Montreal-based rail company has identified a large number of qualified candidates.

Leading by example

She said CN is “leading by example,” noting that two-thirds of senior executives and 90 percent of executives working in Quebec speak French.

Canada’s largest railway was plunged into a linguistic storm when the Montreal-based company failed to replace Quebec premier Jean Charest, who resigned to run for the federal Conservative party leadership, with another francophone.

Robinson is the second CEO from a company subject to the Official Languages Act to appear before the committee in recent months. Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau was put on the spot following an outcry over a speech he delivered mostly in English in Montreal last fall.