The Next Man Up
Prospective Successors to Posts of Authority in Big Canadian Business
W. A. CRAICK
HOW often one hears some such questions as these raised—Who is likely to succeed So-and-So in the presidency of such-and-such a corporation?
What are A’s chances of stepping into B’s shoes, when B retires from the position of general manager of C Company? Is M or N the next man in line for the active control of this or that big financial institution?
This speculation is quite natural. When so much business is being done on the strength of future developments, it is not unreasonable to give consideration to what may possibly eventuate in the way of changed managements.
Much may depend on whether this man or that succeeds to power. The policy of the former may run in one direction—that of the latter may lie in an entirely opposite direction. Differences of character, habit and outlook, may have a very powerful bearing on the outcome.
Even beyond these practical considerations, there is a certain fascination in sizing up possibilities of preferment in big business. It is human nature to evince an insatiable curiosity regarding the future. While men often turn to gamble on the most uncertain and capricious matters, the deepest interest must inevitably lie in those circumstances of life with which human beings are personally associated.
In point of fact, however, in the case of most of the larger corporations of the country, the problem of a likely succession becomes quite a simple one. Recognizing the force of the inevitable, these big concerns have so adjusted their organizations that for practically every official of standing on their staffs, there is an understudy or one who could on short notice, step into his superior’s place and do his work. It is an obviously necessary provision and at no point is its value more evident than in that final seat of authority—the office of the general manager. Here temporary chaos might reign, were the chief executive to be suddenly removed, leaving no one with the requisite knowledge or training to pick up the threads and carry on the business of the company without trouble or delay.
Who, then, are the next men up, the coming chief officials, in the case of the big business and financial concerns of the Dominion? That there are such men is obvious; that their prospective promotion is already to all intents and purposes, cut and dried, is a fair assump-
tion ; that some day, sooner or later, and barring accident, they will become outstanding figures in the business life of the country, may almost be taken for granted. On the basis of their eventual prominence, if not on account of any present fame they may possess, these men should be persons of considerable public interest even now.
A PART from Governmental possibil1 ities at Ottawa, which are admittedly of very great general importance, there is probably no question of succession to office in Canada of more compelling interest than that to the presidency of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. So powerful has this corporation become and so widespread has its sphere of influence grown that in prestige as a business concern, it ranks second only to the Dominion Government itself. To hold office as its chief executive is to occupy a proud position in the life of the country, while to rank as a prospective successor to that chief executive is to be in line for one of the most spectacular promotions in the business affairs of the Dominion.
Sir Thomas Shaughnessy, who has been president of the company since 1898, is still, comparatively speaking, in the prime of life. He was born in 1853, and is consequently only sixty-two years of age. When so much of the important work of the world is being done nowadays by men between sixty and seventy, it is quite within the possibilities that Sir Thomas may continue to control the destinies of the C. P. R. for several years to come. At the same time, the uncertainties of life are such that it would be folly for a corporation of the size and importance of the big railway company to
be without the services of a man who could in case of necessity take up the chief executive’s work without
Who, therefore, is slated for the presidency after Sir Thomas retires? Who is the crown prince of the big transportation enterprise? To name the person with any degree of definiteness is impossible. Boards of directors have a way at times of upsetting all calculations. Yet, there are certain straws that show how the wind blows, and one of the most significant of of these was the action taken last year on the retii ement of VicePresident David McNicoll. Mr. McNicoll was vice-president in charge of the company’s eastern lines, while western lines
were under the control of Vice-President George Bury. Both reported to the president, and both were on a parity so far as authority went, except that Mr. McNicoll had the additional standing which membership in the board of directors imparted.
Following Mr. McNicoll’s withdrawal from active participation in the management of the road, a change was made in the organization. Instead of leaving the office of vice-president in charge of eastern lines as it was, its scope was enlarged to embrace all lines, and while a vicepresident for western lines was still required, his authority was to be subsidiary to that of the new vice-president for all lines. The man, therefore, who was selected for the latter position, was to be a powerful figure in the system and quite plainly was to rank next to the president.
Mr. Bury received the appointment, and at the same time was constituted a member of the board of directors. As the only vice-president of the company, who is a director, and as the occupant of the very important office described, he is unquestionably to be regarded as the coming man in the C. P. R. organization. It is quite true that rumor mentions one or two other possibilities for preferment, but as matters now stand, public opinion considersMr. Bury as the next man in line for promotion.
For many years Canada has had to look to the United States for its higher railroad officials. Sir William Van Horne, Sir Thomas Shaughnessy, the late C. M. Hays and E. J. Chamberlin, were all born across the border and received their training as railroad men on American lines. Mr. Bury, on the other hand,
comes of the new generation of nativeborn officials, who have spent all their working days in the employ of Canadian roads. He belongs by birth to Montreal, and he started his career at the age of seventeen, and in the service of the company with which he is still associated.
Oddly enough, it was in Sir Thomas Shaughnessy’s office that the young man obtained employment. Knighthood and presidential responsibilities were then far beyond the dreams of the brisk IrishAmerican railroader, who was at that period, filling the position of purchasing agent for the C. P. R., and it may be presumed that his new clerk had still less idea that one day both he and his superior would be occupying the highest stations in the service of the company.
For a short period, after his preliminary training under Mr. Shaughnessy, Mr. Bury acted as private secretary to Sir William Van Horne, then general manager of the road. Just to show how he never lost an opportunity to improve himself while in this position, it may be mentioned that whenever he traveled with Sir William, either in Canada or the United States, he was accustomed to spend every moment of his spare time in prowling around yards and terminals taking in how things were done. Following his experience as private secretary he was transferred from the clerical to the operating department and appointed assistant superintendent at North Bay. From then on promotion came to him rapidly. He was ambitious, energetic and eager to secure the approbation of his superiors. He took pains to post himself. not only on matters connected with his immediate sphere of activity, but on railroad problems in general, becoming
thereby an allround authority and valuable accordingly.
'T'HE name of -*■ George Bury first began to come into prominence about eight years ago, at the time he received the appointment of assistant general manager of western lines. He was then stationed at Winnipeg, and was righthand man to the late Sir William Whyte. Two years later he was promoted to be general manager, and on the retirement of S i r William in 1911, succeeded him as vice-president in charge of all lines west of Lake Superior. During this period, Mr. Bury was active in making those enlargements and reconstructions that
were features of
the railway development of the last decade in Western Canada.
A “live wire” is the description accorded Mr. Bury by those easterners who have been brought into contact with him for the first time since his return to Mont-
real from the west.
His activity, coupled with his western ideas of how things should be done, has served to infuse a new and vigorous life into the head office organization. He has introduced numerous innovations, has made drastic economic reforms, and is bending his energies to the solution of the pressing problem of the day—how best to give a maximum of service at a minimum of expense.
In appearance, Mr.
Bury is of medium height and stocky build, with lightcolored hair and moustache. He is of a quick, nervous temperament; is an energetic worker and a man not only of administrative ability but of inventive genius and literary tastes. He
was forty-nine years of age on his last birthday.
CO much for prospective succession in ^ the case of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. What of its old-time rival, the Grand Trunk? Here, the speculator in future promotions is faced with a somewhat more puzzling problem. In the Canadian Pacific organization, one of the company’s vice-presidents, by reason of superior authority and membership in the board of directors, admittedly takes precedence; in the Grand Trunk, all the vice-presidents are supposed to stand on a parity, and it is impossible to say that this official or that is, by vote of the board of directors or otherwise, superior to his colleagues. It becomes necessary, therefore, in the case of the Grand Trunk, to discriminate among the vice-presidents and seek to determine which of them is popularly, or in the estimation of railroad men, at least, regarded as next in line for advancement.
At the present moment, Vice-President Howard G. Kelley appears to be the favorite. The departments over which he presides are undoubtedly of prime importance in the railway organization, and for this reason, if for no other, it might naturally be assumed that next to those of President Chamberlin himself, his duties are of the greatest moment in the management of the road. He is in charge of construction, transportation and maintenance—three of the vital branches of railway operation, and while his colleagues in the departments of finance, law, traffic, etc., are handling weighty matters in their respective spheres of influence, it is generally admitted that his work is exceptionally important, giv-
ing him an implied, if not an actual, precedence among them.
Mr. Kelley is another of those American-trained railroaders who has come over the line to help Canadians run their railway systems. Born in Philadelphia fifty-seven years ago, he graduated from the Polytechnic College of Pennsylvania as a civil engineer and entered the employ of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1881, being assistant engineer on location, construction and bridge work. Then followed some experience as a mining engineer, after which he reverted to railway work and was connected in an engineering capacity with several western roads. It was from one of the latter that he was selected by the late C. M. Hays in 1907 to become chief engineer of the Grand Trunk, while four years later, in recognition of efficient service, he was advanced to his present position.
There can be little doubt that much of the credit for the steady improvement in Grand Trunk service of late years belongs to Mr. Kelley. His training as an engineer has had its influence on his work, and he has approached problems that have confronted him in a broad and far-sighted manner. He believes thoroughly in organization under competent heads, while he has a way of quietly inspiring enthusiasm that is slowly but surely having its effect. He is popular on the road and being a very active individual with plenty of go about him, he makes his influence felt personally from end to end of the
Personally, Mr. Kelley is on the short side, so far as height is concerned, but he is the possessor of a very remarkable head that distinguishes him as a man of
exceptional brainpower. He makes a very delightful companion on the road, and is as courteous and hospitable a person as one could wish to meet. Being a man of education and refinement he evinces many qualities that the average railroader is not supposed to possess, and in both manner and appearance holds his own in any company. It is understood that he is highly regarded by the English directors, who place much confidence in his judgment on matters pertaining to construction and maintenance.
Of course Mr. Chamberlin, the present head of the Grand Trunk System is by no means an old man. As a matter of fact he is just six years the
senior of Mr. Kelley and in the ordinary course he should have many years more of active connection with the corporation. Still as matters stand to-day, Mr. Kelley
is to be regarded as the second figure in the management and a presumptive successor to the president but whether or not he will eventually advance to this position is dependent on so many contingencies that he would be a bold man who would dare to make the prophecy.
PASSING now to the third big railway system a somewhat more complicated s i t uation is encountered. If the line of succession appears fairly clear cut in the case of the Canadian Pacific and Grand Trunk Systems, the same can hardly be said of the Canadian Northern. There is this essential difference at the outset. The former are corporations owned
by thousands of shareholders and their chief officials are in a sense employees of the respective companies. The latter is a company, the controlling interest in which belongs to a second company—Mackenzie, Mann & Co.—of which the highest officials of the road are the principal owners. In other words office and ownership go together in the case of the Canadian Northern, as they do not in the case of the other corporations.
Apropos of the firm name—Mackenzie, Mann & Co.-—the story of how it originated is not without historic interest. When William Mackenzie and Donald Mann started their railroad enterprise, they went to the head office of the Canadian Bank of Commerce in Toronto with the intention of opening an account. They had both been engaged in contracting on a large scale and had a considerable sum of money to deposit. Indeed, Sir William maintains that they had more ready cash that day than they have ever had since.
After interviewing B. E. Walker, then general manager, the latter took them down to the banking room and gave instructions to open an account. Immediately the question arose, under what name should it be placed on the books. The pair looked at each other questioningly when Mann said, “How old are you Mackenzie?” On learning that Mackenzie was the older Mann said, “Then call it Mackenzie & Mann.” It was accordingly about to be written down, Mackenzie & Mann, when the senior partner exclaimed, “Make it Mackenzie, Mann & Co. I’ve got a son that I want to bring in some day and the company can include him.
So Mackenzie, Mann & Co. it became, but unfortunately the boy referred to did
not live to enter the partnership. Alexander Mackenzie,
Sir William’s eldest son, who gave every promise of becoming as able a man as his father and one who might have been expected to attain high standing in Canadian affairs, was cut off almost on the threshold of his career.
The circumstance that ownership plays an important part in the C.N.R. situation introduces an element which makes predictions as to probable developments extremely difficult. It may seem natural to suppose that when the time comes for the two doughty railroad knights—Sir William and Sir Donald—to step aside, their offices will be filled by their sons and heirs. This would be quite reasonable of course, but still certain contingencies might arise, which would make this course impossible. There is the prospect of Government intervention for one thing and, that this is not entirely outside the probabilities, is the view of many thinking people. Indeed, one very influential Canadian, when asked the question, who would be the next president of the Canadian Northern System, replied, “I don’t know, but I am confident he will be nominated by the cabinet of the day.”
As the situation exists at the present moment, the Canadian Northern is virtually a four-man proposition. That is to say, there are four big men in control of its affairs—Mackenzie, Mann, Lash and
Hanna. The two former are the constructive forces that are calling the system into being. Mr. Lash is the very necessary legal ally of the owners, while Mr. Hanna is the controlling power in the operating department.
It is quite safe to predict that so long
as any of the four are in harness and the Canadian Northern fabric is intact, they will be individually or collectively the dominating force in its management. Under present circumstances, should Sir William suddenly step out, Sir Donald would unquestionably step in. Should both retire, Z. A. Lash or D. B. Hanna would undoubtedly follow them in office, even though room might have to be found at the same time on the directorate for the younger generation.
These possibilities are fairly certain, but one recalls that, with the exception of Mr. Hanna, who will be fifty-sevn this year, the other three men are now well past the threescore mark, Sir Donald sixtytwo and Mr. Lash sixty-nine. It is tolerably well known that both Sir William and Sir Donald would be glad to step aside when once the system is complete, assuming honorary positions on the board and allowing others to take up the more arduous duties of management. The reflection suggests the question, who are the men in training to take their places eventually? Or to put it more bluntly, who are the next men up in the Canadian Northern organization?
THE question is a plural one. It is doubtful whether Sir William Mackenzie himself would be able to place
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lis hand on a particular individual in the ;roup of able young men who are growng up in the service of the company and ;ay, this one will outstrip all the others.
Is the Canadian Northern has hitherto | leen managed primarily by four men, so it nay yet be controlled by a second and lounger group of four men.
If any one will take the trouble to look ip the list of officers of the company, he vill notice a peculiar circumstance. This i s the absence from the roll of a second rice-president. Sir Donald Mann is called rice-president pure and simple; D. B. ïanna is third vice-president. Between .he two there is a hiatus. More than one ifficial of the Canadian Northern is said ;o be looking with covetous eye at the racant office, but so far the position has lever been filled. Rumor has it that Sir iVilliam wants the position for his son, it. J. Mackenzie, of Winnipeg. That may >r may not be true. At any rate, R. J. Mackenzie is the natural successor to his lather’s great interests. He has been ictively associated with the railway for i good many years and has been especially srominent in construction work in the ! West. He resides in Winnipeg where he s a leading figure socially.
Of course much is going to depend in ’uture on the direction in which the acivities of the owners of the Canadian Northern find expression. If construcion, which has hitherto been the prejonderating interest, continues to hold iway, one group of men will exert luperior influence. If on the other hand lonstruction is diminished or ceases, the j lower will pass to the hands of quite an>ther group. The latter contingency is j ibviously the most likely, which means ¡ hat the department over which Mr. lanna presides will gradually assume Treater and greater authority.
T'HE operating department has two general managers, M. H. Macleod, riio has been in charge of Western lines ince 1900; and L. C. Fritch, who was reently made general manager of Eastern ines. The latter is also designated assistnt to the president and as such is nomi.ally at any rate Sir William’s own speial understudy. He is a man, who is as et a stranger to the great mass of Candians, but who will, if all signs do not ; ail, become a very important figure in he railroad life of the country. Indeed, nsiders are prepared to admit that he lay quite likely be the dark horse, who rill nose out the field in the running for residential honors.
Mr. Fritch is an American by birth and s now forty-seven years of age. He enoys the advantage of having been trained oth in civil engineering and in law. Enering the service of the Ohio and Missisippi Railway, he spent several years in n engineering capacity on American oads. He rose eventually to be assistant ■eneral manager of the Illinois Central, ecame assistant to the president of that
road and ultimately its consulting engineer. Then he went over to the Chicago Great Western as its chief engineer and last year was selected by Sir William Mackenzie as his assistant. He has brought to the Canadian Northern very valuable gifts, having a complete knowledge both of construction and operation, great executive ability, forcefulness and a genial and approachable manner.
His western colleague, Mr. Macleod, is also a civil engineer by profession. He was chief engineer of the Lake Temiskaming Railway, now part of the C.P.R. and later was in charge of the construej tion of the Crow’s Nest Railway. Joining the C.N.R. fifteen years ago, he may be said to have been connected with the organization almost from its inception. He is a combination of a good construction man and an efficient operating official and is thoroughly well liked throughout his jurisdiction. He too may be expected to hold high rank in the system.
ON the construction side of the organization, the coming man is reputedly A. J. Mitchell, whose official titles are that of comptroller of Mackenzie, Mann & Co. and assistant to the vice-president of the Canadian Northern Company. He is a young Torontonian, the son of the late Charles Mitchell, a veteran Grand Trunk Railway conductor, and is now about forty I years of age. As comptroller, he undertook the financial work in connection with the construction of the Canadian Northern System, performing the duties of the office with energy and efficiency. He is a man of undoubted ability and he enjoys the confidence of Sir William and Sir Donald to an intimate degree. From present appearances, his future as a high official of the C.N.R. organization, seems absolutely assured.
FROM the executive standpoint, the next man up is undoubtedly the company’s general counsel, F. H. Phippen, K.C. Mr. Phippen succeeded Mr. Lash in this office and he is in a special manner qualified to carry forward the policies which the latter has devised for the advancement of Canadian Northern interests. He was born in Belleville, fifty-three years ago, studied law under the late Walter Barwick, K.C., in Toronto, and went to Winnipeg in 1885 to join the legal firm of Macdonald & Tupper. These young men—Hugh John Macdonald and J. Stewart Tupper—were solicitors for the land department of the C.P.R., for the Hudson Bay Company, the Bank of Montreal and other corporations and Mr. Phippen, being confident and aggressive, soon became a leading corporation lawyer in Winnipeg. Eventually he spent three years as a judge of the Manitoba Court of Appeal, but resigned from the bench in 1909 to come to Toronto as general counsel for the Canadian Northern. He has done good* work for the company but his present standing, as also that of Mr. Lash, has been somewhat shadowed by the recent unpleasant developments in Mani-
There are other young men in the organization, who give promise of advancing to positions of high authority—notably W. H. Moore, the secretary, and L. J.
Mitchell, the treasurer, but it would be invidious to select and compare them. The four, who from present appearances seem to be the most likely successors to the present high officials are those mentioned. They are at least the next men on the staff in point of authority, but whether any or all of them succeed to office or in what order of precedence they will advance, are secrets that only time can reveal.
PASSING now to the larger banking institutions of the country, who are the next men up in the management of their affairs? Of prospective presidents in succession to the present holders of the office, it is impossible to make predictions. Presidents of banks differ appreciably from presidents of transportation companies, in that they are not of necessity managers. Indeed, their association with the banks over which they preside, may be of quite a nominal character and any member of the board of directors with the necessary power and influence may succeed. This is often the case, despite the growing custom of promoting the general manager to the presidency when the vacancy occurs.
With one or two possible exceptions, therefore, it is the general manager who is the important figure in the banks from the executive standpoint, and it is with the men who are in line for the post of general manager that we are concerned. They belong to the bank’s organization and have advanced through the ranks to their present position in the head office. Speculation as to their identity may be said to be reduced to a minimum, for of late years it has become the custom to appoint assistant general managers, who are presumably qualified to take up the duties of general manager in case of emergency. At the same time, it must never be overlooked that the position is in the gift of thë board of directors, who may advance whom they will to the
SIR FREDERICK WILLIAMS-TAYLOR, general manager of the Bank of Montreal, has as his assistant and presumable successor, Arthur Douglas Braithwaite. Mr. Braithwaite is a man, who has been associated with banking in Canada for over forty years, and his knowledge of the subject is reputedly extensive. He has enjoyed experiences in the West during its formative period, was stationed in Hamilton and Toronto at the time when these cities were developing so rapidly industrially, spent some time in New York acquiring a knowledge of the mysteries of exchange, and for the past few years has been on the head office staff in Montreal.
Mr. Braithwaite may be described not only as an efficient banker but as a man of great social popularity and one who has always been keenly interested in sport. When he managed the bank’s Calgary branch during the eighties, he was one of the social lions of the place. He went in enthusiastically for every pastime in which the Westerners indulged, and even took to broncho busting. As for racing, he was one of the foremost supporters of the sport in Alberta and did much to
maintain it on a respectable plane, his own horse, Harkaway, winning him fame in more than one event.
The son of an English Church clergyman and himself born in the Old Country, he has always evinced a deep interest in church work, while his public-spiritedness has been shown on more than one occasion when he has taken an active part in patriotic, social and philanthropic undertakings. He is a brother-in-law of Sir John Hendrie, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, and has lately been called upon to sacrifice a daughter and two sons-in-law in the cause of the Empire. Lieuts. Guy Drummond, of Montreal, and Trumbell Warren, of Toronto, who died on the battle front in France, were married to his elder daughters, while Miss Dorothy Braithwaite, who was on her way to London to be with Mrs. Drummond, lost her life in the sinking of the Lusitania.
TN the case of the Canadian Bank of -*• Commerce, the coming man is undoubtedly John Aird, the present assistant general manager. Like Mr. Braithwaite, Mr. Aird has been associated with banking for a lengthy period and also like his Montreal contemporary, he spent many years in Western Canada. Indeed, it is said to have been on account of his exceptional knowledge of Western conditions that he was selected for his present position. When Sir Edmund Walker succeeded to the presidency of the bank in 1907, and the assistant general manager of that day, Alexander Laird, was promoted to be general manager, it was thought that there would be no necessity to appoint an assistant. Mr. Laird, who had had fifteen years’ experience as manager of the New York branch, was and is a great authority on exchange and, so far as the problems of international banking were concerned, he had no peer in the Dominion. But his long absence in New York had placed him a little out of touch with certain aspects of domestic business and, as the story goes, he began to find the task of managing the bank single-handed too heavy an undertaking. Accordingly, in 1911, he agreed to have an assistant and Mr. Aird, who was then superintendent of central Western branches at Winnipeg, was brought to Toronto. The combination proved a happy one. Mr. Laird with his intimate knowledge of the larger problems of banking and Mr. Aird with his close personal acquaintance with the domestic field, made a strong pair.
Mr. Aird, who will celebrate his sixtieth birthday this fall is a banker first and last. You may find him around the clubs, it is true; you may even see him an interested onlooker at sporting events, but these are in a sense outside of his regular routine. To the service of the bank he is giving his undivided attention. He is in his office late and early and is keeping his hand and eye constantly on the affairs of the institution.
As a banker, Mr. Aird’s distinguishing characteristic is an insatiable desire to come right down to fundamentals. It is said that when he was in the West and traveling about the country, he was accustomed to get right out among the farmers and by asking questions right and left ascertain with a precision that
no one else could hope to equal, just exactly how the agricultural community stood financially. Even to-day his knowledge of detail is reputedly extraordinary. These qualities have inclined him to be cautious and may be accountable for the reputation he possesses of being extremely careful and exacting.
IN the case of the Royal Bank, of which E. L. Pease is the general manager, the next man up is Charles Ernest Neill, who is one of two assistant general managers. Mr. Neill is a much younger man than either Mr. Braithwaite or Mr. Aird, being only forty-two on his last birthday but, that he is a coming man in banking circles, is an opinion widely held. In a sense he is a combination of his two older contemporaries. He is keen and aggressive in business; agreeable and entertaining outside his office.
Born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Mr. Neill entered the service of the Royal Bank locally and was advanced to be manager of the branch in Vancouver. It was here that he made a name for himself and, when he left to become a supervisor, the branch had grown to such dimensions that it had few equals outside some head offices in the East. From supervisor, Mr. Neill rose to be chief inspector, and at the early age of thirty-four, he found himself in the position of assistant general manager. No bank in Canada has forged ahead so rapidly of recent years as the Royal and, while Sir Herbert Holt, the president, and Mr. Pease, the general manager, are responsible for the larger policies that have made the advancement possible, the working out of much of the detail has been in the hands of Mr. Neill. He, it was, who put through the Royal-Traders merger that gave the Royal such a strong forward impetus, and in much of the progressive work of the bank, his hand is in evidence.