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CN, Wabtec appoint new chief technology officers

A close-up photograph of a rail crossing barrier.

Class I Canadian railway CN (NYSE: CNI) and rail equipment manufacturer Wabtec (NYSE: WAB) each named new chief technology officers on Wednesday.

Dominique Malenfant will join CN Tuesday as an executive vice president and chief information and technology officer. In his role, he will lead the development and deployment of advanced technologies and digitalization to improve inspection reliability, provide rich data analytics, generate automation and drive capacity, and safety, CN said.

“Dominique has spent his career building innovative products to improve efficiencies and safety in the transportation and rail industries and has extensive operational experience,” said CN CEO JJ Ruest. “He will join our strong bench of seasoned leaders to advance CN’s strategy of enhancing our scheduled railroading through technology, while continuing to provide our essential transportation services to our customers, the economy and the communities we serve.”

Malenfant takes over a role formerly held by Michael Foster, who resigned last November for personal reasons. CN appointed Chief Operating Rob Reilly to perform Foster’s role on an interim basis, CN said last November

Malenfant has 35 years of experience, serving most recently as senior vice president of engineering and CTO at Wabtec. At Wabtec, he was focused on developing technologies related to the positive train control and the next generation of precision scheduled railroading, all of which were activities that “spearheaded a major digital industrial evolution in rail,” CN said. 

With Malenfant’s departure, Wabtec announced Wednesday that Eric Gebhardt would take up the role as its new CTO and executive vice president.

Gebhardt, who will assume the position on Sept. 14, will lead Wabtec’s global technology and investment strategy, new product development and global engineering organization, Wabtec said.

“Eric is a powerhouse technology leader and key architect in developing cutting-edge solutions in power generation, transmission, distribution and utilization,” said Wabtec CEO Rafael Santana. “His deep knowledge across the energy sector, extensive track record of building high-performing product development and delivery teams and experience designing product portfolios and digital solutions that minimize energy consumption, improve fuel efficiency and expand the use of alternative fuels will be key to meeting customer demand for cleaner, more energy-efficient transport and integral to Wabtec’s continued growth.”

Gebhardt, who also has more than 30 years of experience, has expertise in developing technology solutions in power generation, battery storage, renewables and distributed power. He is a former managing director of KCK-US, an investment firm focused on the energy, life science and industrial sectors, and he served at General Electric for nearly 30 years. He was the CTO of GE Power, chief product management officer for Energy Connections, chief platforms and operations officers for Current and CTO for GE Oil & Gas. 

“This is an exciting time to be joining Wabtec,” Gebhardt said. “The company’s core technology is proven beyond dispute and we have an opportunity to leverage Wabtec’s scale and breakthrough technologies in energy management, digital and advanced automation to expand innovation across the technology stack. I look forward to combining the team’s incredible capabilities and knowledge with my experiences to further shape the future of transportation.”

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

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