Pacific National taps Scurrah as new leader

Rail freight firm gains seasoned MD and CEO as Cory becomes president and COO

Pacific National taps Scurrah as new leader
Paul Scurrah


Paul Scurrah will lead rail freight enterprise Pacific National (PN) in a senior executive moves that also see experienced Canadian rail executive Mike Cory head operations.

Scurrah, as managing director and CEO, takes over from Dean Della Valle on April 19 after heading airline Virgin Australia, while Cory, as chief operating officer and president, is due to the role Brett Lynch vacated in November to be CEO of Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics (ScottsRL) later in April, depending on travel and visa outcomes.

"At a time when safe and efficient rail freight operations are playing a huge role in the nation’s economic recovery from the Covid crisis, Pacific National is delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Scurrah as its new CEO and Mike Cory as COO," Pacific National chair Russell Smith says.

"Paul’s long history as a senior transport and freight executive places him in a strong position to continue the growth of Australia’s largest private rail freight company.

"Mike’s specialist experience in Class 1 railroads overseas will be invaluable for Pacific National and its operations here in Australia.

"Having managed large organisations with many moving parts, Paul and Mike will connect well with Pacific National’s 3,200 strong workforce – including our frontline employees conducting daily essential rail services throughout regional Australia.

"They join a company with a proud history, a highly skilled and dedicated workforce, a large operational footprint across the country, and strong growth in many diversified freight markets.

"Paul and Mike’s combined corporate, commercial and operating experience will be instrumental in working with the high-quality existing team at Pacific National to drive our performance and continue to provide strong, reliable service to our customers.

"Paul and Mike will continue to work closely with our stakeholders to roll out Pacific National’s transformational strategy of intermodal terminal development nationally.

"This program of investment will support the Australian government’s Inland Rail project, reduce costs to the logistics chain and provide extensive social benefits to the Australian public by helping to remove trucks off our roads and reducing the environmental impact of freight transport in Australia." 

Read how the St Marys hub is a jewel in the PN crown, here

Scurrah will be able to call on a deep understanding of rail freight, having been CEO of Queensland Rail, executive vice president (EVP) and commercial and marketing officer at Aurizon before going on to be MD and CEO of DP World Australia.

Cory can be expected to bring a no-nonsense approach to his new post, having worked his way up in the Canadian industry from starting as a diesel shop labourer in Winnipeg in 1981 to his most recent role as COO and EVP of the North American Class 1 railroad, Canadian National (CN).

PN points out that in that role, he was responsible for the operations covering more than 30,000km of track in 10 provinces and 35 states over two countries, with 23,000 employees transporting more than C$250 billion (A$260 billion) worth of goods annually.

He retired from CN in 2019 and took up consultancy before accepting the new job.


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