SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., Montreal, announced on April 15 an executive suite realignment as it moves to improve results in its ailing infrastructure division.

The firm has named Neil Bruce to the newly created position of chief operating officer to "further streamline operations across all our markets with a goal of further improving operational efficiency," the company said.

Hisham Mahmoud, who was infrastructure division president, will leave the firm. Named to run the division is Executive Vice President Ian Edwards.

"The division has been the segment impacting the overall E&C performance due to numerous negative profit reforecasts over the last two years," said analyst Maxim Sytchev, an analyst who covers SNC-Lavalin for Dundee Capital Markets, Toronto.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the company confirmed on April 14 that its Quebec Superior Court trial on federal corruption charges, set to start this month, has been delayed to July to allow firm attorneys time to review new prosecution evidence.

Charges were filed in February against two corporate units, linked to alleged bribes between 2001 and 2011 by former firm executives of officials in Libya for work on infrastructure projects.

The firm previously said it would contest the charges and plead not guilty, but there is speculation a settlement could be reached.

Also, the engineer-contractor filed suit April 9 against the former executives Riadh Ben Aissa and Sami Bebawi, claiming they embezzled $127 million of company funds related to alleged bribes, and siphoned the monies to non-Canadian firms they secretly owned.

Published reports say the suit follows earlier legal action by SNC-Lavalin to recover $22.5 million allegedly paid to Ben Aissa and others related to a Montreal hospital construction contract.

Spokespersons for the executives could not be reached. They and other ex-company executives face individual criminal charges in Canada.

Ben Aissa was found guilty last year by a Swiss court of bribing the son of deposed Libyan dictator Muammar Khadafi to win construction work. In a plea deal, he was extradited to Canada and agreed to return $47 million in assets improperly obtained, some of which were owed to SNC-Lavalin, according to Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail.

Its story adds that Ben Aissa now is co-operating with Canadian authorities in its ongoing probe of SNC-Lavalin business dealings in Libya.