As it moves away from lump-sum contracting in the wake of project charges and recent quarter losses to focus on higher-margin engineering, Montreal-based SNC Lavalin Inc. has named Robert E. "Bob" Alger, former president, CEO and chairman of Lane Construction, as president of its infrastructure projects unit.

He succeeds Jonathan Wilkinson, who has joined Netherlands contractor Royal BAM Group N.V as UK-based chief operating officer.

"In his new role, Alger will be responsible for continuing to run down SNC-Lavalin’s major lump-sum turnkey projects in the Canadian transportation sector and for building a pipeline of new business in the U.S.," said SNC-Lavalin in an Aug. 25 statement.  "He will also help the firm develop and deploy new contracting models to limit risk."

Alger served as Lane president and CEO from 2001 to 2019, and was also chairman from 2019 to 2020. The Connecticut-based contractor is a unit of Italian contractor Salini-Impregilo, which rebranded earlier this year as Webuild. He remains chairman of Lane Power and Energy Solutions and partner and executive board member of energy technology firm EnREVO Industries LLC, said SNC-Lavalin.

Wilkinson took on the newly created infrastructure unit role at SNC-Lavalin in January, charged with overseeing the completion of the firm's lump sum contracts. The contractor noted impacts in its latest quarter results, but reported better numbers in its engineering and related work.

The contractor is about three years away from totally withdrawing from lump sum operations in EPC contracts, which accounted for about 25-30% of sales in recent years, says its president and CEO Ian L. Edwards. 

Before moving to the Canadian company, Wilkinson held senior posts at U.K. contractors Laing O’Rourke, Kier Group and May Gurney. According to sources, hie departure relates to a desire to return to the U.K.