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Ackman to step up pressure on CP with public meeting

New York investor activist Bill Ackman is stepping up pressure on Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. with plans for a public meeting in Toronto to campaign for support for new directors and management at the freight carrier.

According to a Reuters report that cited sources, Mr. Ackman's New York hedge fund Pershing Square management plans to hold a public meeting Feb. 6 to make his case for voting in an alternative slate of five directors to CP's board and naming former competitor Hunter Harrison as the company's new CEO.

It is believed that Mr. Harrison and the proposed new directors will attend the session. Pershing has proposed the following new directors: Mr. Ackman, Pershing partner Paul Hilal, former Onex Corp. managing director Anthony Melman, corporate restructuring specialist Gary Colter and Just Energy Group Inc. executive chairwoman Rebecca MacDonald.

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The meeting follows up on a warning Mr. Ackman issued in a Jan. 4 e-mail to CP chairman John Cleghorn after he became frustrated that the railway was not considering Mr. Harrison as a replacement for CEO Fred Green.

"We will take the largest public hall available in Toronto and we will make a presentation to the shareholders and the public that will be simulcast on the Internet about management board failures over the last 10 years at CP. We will examine management's and the board's track record and history at CP and in previous career experiences," Mr. Ackman's e-mail said.

CP's board declined to meet with Mr. Harrison, retired chief of its rival Canadian National Railway Co. Two weeks ago the board rejected Mr. Harrison as a replacement for Mr. Green because it would disrupt his management of a multi-year upgrade of the railway's operations.

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