Robert Bandeen, 1990s. Courtesy of the Bandeen family.
Robert Angus Bandeen was born in Rodney, Ontario in 1930. Attending the University of Western Ontario, Bandeen received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science in 1952 Three years later he finished his Ph.D. in economics and statistics from Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina. The same year, he began his career with Canadian National Railways as an economist. He would later be appointed and act as President and Chief Executive Officer throughout the period extending from 1974 to 1982.
In 1981, he was appointed the 15th Chancellor of Bishop’s University, in Lennoxville, Quebec and served in that capacity until 1987.
He saw made an Office of the Order of Canada in 1980 in recognition of his contribution to the development of transportation in Canada.
He is attributed with bringing a proactive entrepreneurial attitude to the CN system, which at the time was government owned. Specifically, he stressed several principles involving profitable operations. Working with the organization, he convinced most persons of the need to make pragmatic distinctions between profitable organizations such as freight and non-profitable operations like passenger service and express service. Accordingly, he divided CN into various profit centres and promoted fiscally sound and responsible business policies. This involves a recapitalization of CN’s entire financial structure and the creation of VIA Rail.
By 1976, CN experienced its first profitable year in over two decades.
In 1977, Dr. Bandeen was invited do deliver a talk to many notable persons at the Empire Club of Canada. The talk chronicle the history of CN, it’s long term business plan and was entitled “The Ways and the Means.”
Robert Angus Bandeen died in Toronto, Ontario, on August 16, 2010 at the age of 79.