MONTREAL, Aug. 27, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Paul G. Smith, Chairman of the Board of VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announced this morning to the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Lisa Raitt, his decision to leave his role at Canada's passenger rail operator, effective August 31th. Mr. Smith had been in this position since December 2010.
"For the past eight years I've had the privilege to work with a talented and dedicated team who taught me to appreciate the great qualities of the passenger rail transport we have in this country," said Mr. Smith. "Travelling by train is an enjoyable and safe way to travel from coast to coast for more than 4 million people every year. It is also the only mode of transport for many remote communities in Canada. It is crucial to encourage VIA's development and to support initiatives that will lead to more train frequencies and greater reliability. The Government of Canada's investment of $1 billion since 2007, which allowed us to modernize some of our equipment and infrastructure, is a testament to this commitment to passenger rail."
"Like most people who have worked with him, I'm saddened by Mr. Smith's departure", said Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail. "His commitment to our corporation, his dedication to public service, his energy, his integrity and his business acumen were of significant value. On behalf of all the employees of VIA Rail, I want to wish him the best in his future endeavours. VIA Rail has benefited from Mr. Smith's exceptional personal qualities and his significant support throughout the years."
Born and raised in Manitoba, fluent in both French and English, Paul G. Smith joined the VIA Rail Board of Directors in 2006. Shortly thereafter, he became Chairman of the Planning and Finance Committee. He has also served on the Board's Audit and Risk Committee and on its Investment Committee. In December of 2010, he was appointed Chairman of VIA Rail Canada's Board of Directors.
Members of VIA Rail's Board of Directors have approved the interim appointment of Eric Stefanson to take over Mr. Smith responsibilities until the Government of Canada designates a new Chairman. Mr. Stefanson, the current Vice-Chairman of VIA's Board of Directors, is originally from Winnipeg. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Health Sciences Centre Foundation (Chair); FWS Holdings Ltd. (Chair of Audit Committee); Paragon Pharmacies Limited; and The North West Company Inc. He was also a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit Committee for The Winnipeg Foundation from 2005 to 2011.
About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities from coast to coast. Recipient of the Railway Association of Canada's Safety Award in 2012 for the 11th time in 12 years, and of the 2013 Agent's Choice Award voted by Canadian travel agents and presented by Baxter Travel Media, VIA Rail safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has invested more than a billion dollars in VIA Rail. Follow the progress of our transformation at viarail.ca/transformingvia.
SOURCE: VIA Rail Canada Inc.