SNC-Lavalin VP to retire months after shift from CFO role
The headquarters of engineering giant SNC-Lavalin are seen in Montreal on March 26, 2012. (Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, July 4, 2013 4:29PM EDT
MONTREAL -- The head of infrastructure concession investments at SNC-Lavalin is retiring just months after the engineering giant announced his shift from the position as chief financial officer.
Gilles Laramee, who joined the Montreal-based company in 1986, will retire on Aug. 9. He was replaced as CFO last month by Alain-Pierre Raynaud, a former executive of French nuclear giant Areva.
Laramee, who is in his 50s, was named late last year to take over the new infrastructure and concessions business unit to provide "strategic oversight and more active management of the business to leverage its full value."
Asked Thursday why he was leaving so soon after being named to oversee the unit, SNC-Lavalin spokeswoman Leslie Quinton described it as a "personal choice."
Despite his shift in positions, Laramee survived earlier this year when new chief executive Robert Card shook up the embattled engineering company's senior management team and created a new organizational structure as SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) tries to turn the page on bribery and other allegations that have sullied its reputation.
SNC's former CEO and vice-president have been charged with fraud over allegations that $22.5 million was used to win the $1.3 billion megahospital contract in 2010.
According to an SNC internal investigation, Laramee refused to sign off on payments allegedly ordered by Riadh Ben Aissa, a former vice-president jailed in Switzerland. Former CEO Pierre Duhaime approved the payments, but Laramee never informed SNC's board of directors.
At SNC-Lavalin's annual meeting in May, Card outlined his strategy for the future, which included the sale of non-core infrastructure assets and the possibility of reducing its stake in other large investments.
SNC-Lavalin's main concession assets are 407 International and AltaLink, one of Canada's largest power transmission companies. It also has ownership stakes in a series of projects including the new concert hall for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the new megahospital it is building in Montreal.
The assets provide financial stability but Card said they are also very attractive to potential partners.