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Sean Finn, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer, CN
CN holds a unique place in history: the unforgettable people, iconic landscapes and exciting innovations have all marked our great railroad through time. But since its creation 100 years ago, CN has faced many challenging situations, especially this past year with an unfortunate work disruption, illegal blockades on its railroad, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Being essential to the economy, to its customers, and to the communities it serves by transporting safely more than 300 million tons of natural resources, manufactured products, and finished goods throughout North America every year, CN had to react quickly to maintain its operations. Sean Finn will discuss how CN navigated through a succession of exceptional circumstances, learned from it, and adapted the way it conducts business and plans on doing so for another 100 years.
Executive Vice-President, Corporate Services
and Chief Legal Officer, CN
Sean Finn was appointed Executive Vice-President Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer in December 2008. He is responsible for a wide array of legal, government, regulatory, public affairs, risk mitigation and security matters. Mr. Finn joined CN in January 1994 and led the Company’s corporate tax function while being involved extensively in CN’s privatization in November 1995. He was appointed Treasurer and Principal Tax Counsel in August 1996, Vice-President, Treasurer and Principal Tax Counsel in January 2000, Senior Vice-President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary in December 2000, and Senior Vice-President Public Affairs, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary in February 2003. As Corporate Secretary, he is actively involved and responsible for CN’s Corporate Governance Practices and the implementation of the CN Business Code of Conduct.
Prior to joining CN, Mr. Finn was the managing tax partner with the Montreal law firm Lavery, de Billy, where he was involved in domestic and international tax planning, cross-border financing, and corporate financing and reorganizations.
Mr. Finn graduated from the faculty of law of the University of Montreal in 1981 and completed a Masters degree in tax law at the University of Toronto in 1983. He was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1983. Mr. Finn was named Tax Lawyer of the Year 2000 by his peers.
He is a former Chairman of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (2006-2007) and of the Quebec Chamber of Commerce (2002-2003), and he is currently the only Canadian member of the US Chamber of Commerce. He was also Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal for a one-year mandate (2017-2018). In September 2018, Mr. Finn was selected to be the inaugural recipient of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Emeritus Leaders’ Circle award, in recognition of his demonstrated commitment to advancing the CCC’s mission and vision, and for supporting the Chamber in achieving excellence in operations and delivering value to members.
He was also the mayor of the City of Saint-Lambert, Quebec from 2005 to 2009. Mr. Finn was a lecturer for 20 years in tax legislation and policy for the masters in taxation at Université de Sherbrooke and for the graduate diploma in taxation at McGill.