Executive Team

 

VIA Rail’s executive team is comprised of individuals who demonstrate integrity, diligence, and know-how. Through their leadership and expertise, they help VIA Rail achieve its vision of being a smarter way to move people.

 

Mario Péloquin

President and Chief Executive Officer

 

Mario Péloquin was appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail in June 2023 and brings over 35 years of experience in the railway industry to his new role. His career trajectory started as an operator and then a rail traffic controller before he rose to hold senior roles focused on rail safety at Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board. Mr. Péloquin then transitioned into executive positions with global leaders such as Siemens Mobility, Aecom, Thales Canada, and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, leading significant and transformative transportation projects.

Before joining VIA Rail, he held the position of Executive Vice President, Major Projects for the Paris-based Keolis Group. Mr. Péloquin believes profoundly that effective public transit is the key to solving many societal issues. His extensive experience and commitment to safety, operational efficiency, and innovative technology position him well to lead VIA Rail into a new era of innovation and operational excellence.

Mr. Péloquin holds an MBA from the Université du Québec à Montréal. He has also served on the boards of the Canadian Consortium for Urban Transportation Research and Innovation (CUTRIC), the Canadian Association of Railway Suppliers (CARS), the Toronto Railway Club and the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA).

 

Bruno Cacciola

Chief Capital Programs Officer

 

Mr. Cacciola joined VIA Rail in 2020 as the Vice-President, New Fleet Program. In this capacity, Bruno lead the team responsible for the deployment and the entry into service of VIA Rail’s new corridor fleet. In November of 2021, he assumed the role of Chief Business Transformation Officer. He is responsible for the execution of VIA Rail’s Transformational Programs as well as the Information Technology Group. The Business Transformation Office is a key contributor to the modernization and transformation strategy of VIA Rail.

Prior to joining VIA Rail, he held various senior management positions at CAE and Bombardier Transportation. While at CAE, he was responsible for several engineering teams and also held senior roles in Product Management and Strategy, and Bids and Proposals. At Bombardier Transportation, he was Vice President for Movia Products which included all global Metro programs and was also responsible for the digital product strategy.

Bruno Cacciola holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering as well as an MBA, both from McGill University. He is also a graduate of the John Molson School of Business Executive Certified Management Accounting Program. He is a member of l’Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec and l’Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec.

 

Rita Toporowski

Chief Service Delivery Officer

 

Ms. Toporowski joined VIA Rail in November 2014, first as General Manager for Central Canada and then as Vice-President, Customer Experience. In August 2022, she was promoted to Chief Customer Officer. In this capacity, she oversees all activities related to our customers' journey from booking to destination, and to their experience on board our trains and in our stations. Her mandate entails providing overall direction and strategic leadership to the customer-focused teams, including the development of new business opportunities and initiatives relative to marketing, product, and customer service.

Prior to joining VIA Rail, Ms. Toporowski was Vice-President, Corporate Planning and Development, at Second Cup where she was responsible for leading the Strategic Planning process; cross-functional process improvement; procurement and supply chain; and the development and negotiation of new product channels. She also spent 16 years at Air Canada where she held various senior positions, including President of Air Canada Vacations and Senior Director Six Sigma.

Ms. Toporowski holds an MBA from Concordia University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from McGill University.

 

Brigitte Dagnault

Chief Communications and Marketing Officer

 

Ms. Dagnault joined VIA Rail in 2023 as Chief Communications and Marketing Officer. She is responsible for establishing VIA Rail's strategic positioning in the market and leading the development of strategy and initiatives in marketing, communications, government relations and with Indigenous communities. She is also responsible for the company's accessibility and sustainable development efforts.

Previously, Ms. Dagnault held the position of Assistant Vice-President, Strategy and Visibility Quebec at Sun Life. She was responsible for implementing the company's business strategy in the Quebec market, as well as raising its profile. Brigitte was instrumental in the evolution of the Sun Life brand on a national scale when she was Assistant Vice-President, Marketing for Canada. Brigitte has also worked at GE Capital and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

She holds two bachelor's degrees from the Université du Québec à Montréal, in communications and public relations.

 

Mathieu Paquette

Chief Human Resources Officer

 

Mr. Paquette joined VIA Rail in March 2023. As the Chief Human Resources Officer, he is responsible for protecting all labour relations including the employer brand, employee attraction, retention, engagement, and ensuring that employees have a positive experience while working at VIA Rail.

Prior to joining VIA Rail, Mr. Paquette was the head of human resources responsible for North America at Orica, one of the world’s leading mining and infrastructure solutions providers. He possesses a wide range of experience in human resources with skills such as implementing policies, labor relations, strategic planning, and organizational development.

Mr. Paquette has a bachelor's degree in education from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). He has completed the MBS program in leadership, at the Melbourne Business School and he is a member of the l’Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés (CRHA).

 

 

Michael Acosta

Chief Commercial Officer

 

Mr. Acosta was appointed Chief Commercial Officer in August 2023. He joined VIA Rail in 2009 to oversee Revenue Management and in 2014 the mandate expanded to develop network planning as Mr. Acosta was promoted to Director of Commercial Planning. He was then promoted to Senior Director in 2016, and Vice-President, Commercial in 2022.

During his tenure, Mr. Acosta developed the team whose purpose was to optimize VIA’s network and schedule, resulting in robust revenue and passenger growth. He has also been a speaker and panelist at several international rail conferences, sharing his insights and best practices on network optimization and revenue management. Mr. Acosta is focusing his efforts on the evolution of passenger rail in Canada through better network planning, scheduling, revenue optimization and excellence in customer journey planning. He believes that train travel should be a relevant, sustainable and convenient mode of transportation and a unique and memorable experience for passengers.

Prior to joining VIA Rail, Mr. Acosta worked for Sabre, a leading technology provider for the travel industry, and Air Canada, the national carrier and largest airline in Canada, where he gained valuable experience in business processes assessment and organizational planning.