SNC-Lavalin has named Robert G. Card, a veteran executive at CH2M HIll, to be the company's next chief executive.
Steady leadership by Card will be needed as the Montreal-based engineer and contractor tries to recover from a scandal that cost its prior chief executive his position, triggered the departure of two of the company's top contracting executives and provoked at least two investigations.
The company says it will hold a Web-accessible press conference Oct. 1, when Card starts on his new job.
Card spent three years as under secretary at the U.S. Dept. of Energy, from 2001 to 2004, sandwiched between long, senior-level managerial service at Denver-based CH2M Hill.
Among the qualifications noted in a statement from SNC-Lavalin is that Card had previously resided in Canada.
Most recently Card served as chief operating officer for the consortia responsible for the successful delivery of London Olympics facilities and infrastructure, "all on time and on budget," according to SNC-Lavalin.
SNC-Lavalin said in the statement that its thorough review of Card served to "reveal an exceptionally intelligent, energetic and ethical leader, well-equipped to deal with both the specific issues that face SNC-Lavalin and the broader strategic challenges of global political and economic changes.”
Card's appointment follows Pierre Duhaime's March 26 decision to step down as CEO and retire from the firm in June. Those actions come in the wake of an independent review of $56 million in missing payments to agents. The report said Duhaime approved the payments without approval of SNC-Lavalin's chief financial officer.
The CEO's departure was preceded by the exit of an executive vice president who oversaw firm work in Libya and a vice president who has been linked to a Canadian woman now jailed in Mexico for allegedly trying to smuggle into that country a son of former dictator Muammar Gadhafi. The missing funds were not related to Libyan operations, the review noted.
Canada's national police force raided the Montreal offices of engineer SNC-Lavalin on April 13, seeking information about missing funds allegedly used by former executives to procure work in Libya.
SNC-Lavalin ranks at No. 9 on ENR's list of the Top 150 Global Design Firms, but it also has a substantial business as an at-risk contractor.
Among the adjustments facing Card are his pending relocation to Montreal and learning to speak French, "which is such an integral part of this global firm's heritage," he said in a statement.