CEO Neil Bruce departs as SNC-Lavalin pursues lower-risk strategy

Written by Punita V

Published on : June 12, 2019 5:19

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is looking for a new strategy under new leadership after a series of setbacks in Canada and abroad that have threatened its future and crushed its stock price.

Neil Bruce, chief executive of the engineering and construction company for the past four years, is leaving and will return to his native U.K., the company said in a statement Tuesday. The board of directors is handing his replacement a mandate to quickly develop a new strategy that lowers risk. Mr. Bruce’s interim replacement will be infrastructure expert Ian Edwards, who has been SNC’s operations chief since January.

The company has faced pressure on several fronts since last October, when it announced it would not be invited by federal prosecutors to negotiate a deal to settle bribery and fraud charges over its past business dealings in Libya. Mr. Bruce came into the national spotlight after the company’s effort to win a settlement, called a deferred prosecution agreement, hit a wall and spiralled into a political crisis for the Trudeau government. Accusations that officials in the Prime Minister’s Office had put pressure on then-attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould to order a deal for the company led to the resignation of the country’s highest-ranking bureaucrat and of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary.