Pershing Square Wins Proxy Fight With Canadian Railroad

May 18 2012 | 4:11am ET

Pershing Square Capital Management has won a resounding victory in its high-profile proxy battle with Canadian Pacific Railways.

The hedge fund's entire slate of seven director nominees were elected to the Calgary, Alberta-based company's board yesterday. And while the vote gives Pershing Square just under half of the board's seats, it's expected that its victory will be seen as a mandate to run the company. Pershing had railed against CP CEO Fred Green, whom it blamed for the company's poor performance.

CP announced that Green would leave the company and its board in the wake of the vote, and that Chairman John Cleghorn and four other directors would not stand for re-election. It also named an interim CEO, while Pershing Square chief and newly-elected director William Ackman pledged a "proper job" in the railroad's search for a new leader, although he has made clear that he wants former Canadian National Railway CEO Hunter Harrison in the job.

"We came in peace and I'm delighted to say we are at peace again," Ackman said at the annual meeting, at a hotel in downtown Calgary. "We heard a loud and clear mandate for change and we are honored to work with the new board to take this great company to higher levels of performance and achievement."

CP did not release the vote totals, but it took only minutes to announce that the Pershing Square slate had won. Pershing Square owns 14% of CP.

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