The two other nominees for Morningstar's 2013 CEO of the Year award were Darren Gee of Peyto Exploration & Development Corp. and John Martin of Gilead Science Inc.
"This year's nominees have demonstrated sound stewardship practices on behalf of their firms' shareholders," Heather Brilliant, head of global equity and corporate credit research for Morningstar, said. "We selected Mr. Harrison as this year's winner because Canadian Pacific has produced outstanding results since his appointment as CEO in June 2012. Harrison has now transformed three railroads in his career and along the way forged a new standard of profitability in a two-centuries-old industry.
"It would be difficult to identify another company leader who has revolutionized operations within a mature, asset-intensive industry several times over. Earlier in his career, Harrison steered both the Canadian National and Illinois Central railways to industry-leading margins. His actions in 2013 improved operations for the benefit of Canadian Pacific employees, customers and shareholders, and positioned the firm for future success."
In a release naming Harrison as the winter, Morningstar said, "Following his appointment, Harrison streamlined leadership, operating practices and assets, both human and steel. He replaced nearly all senior leadership, decreased the work force by 27 percent and reduced company-controlled railcars and locomotives by 35 percent and 43 percent, respectively. He relocated the firm's headquarters from downtown Calgary, Alberta to the firm's Ogden Yard, a move that cut costs but also keeps Canadian Pacific's focus on freight operations front and center for corporate employees. CP is on track to produce a nearly 30 percent operating margin in 2013 and targets a 35 percent margin in 2014, a figure nearly double 2011's level."
Morningstar introduced its CEO of the Year award in January 2000. Winners are chosen by senior members of Morningstar's equity analyst team based on their in-depth independent research.