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SNC-Lavalin comes under scrutiny; announces executive changes

SNC-Lavalin, Canada's biggest engineering and construction company, has announced changes to its top executive levels.


SNC-Lavalin, Canada’s biggest engineering and construction company, has announced changes to its top executive levels.

The company issued a press release of February 9 announcing that Riadh Ben Aissa, who was executive vice-president, was no longer employed by the company. The company also said that Stéphane Roy was no longer employed.

At the same time, the company announced that Charles Chebl is now appointed as executive vice president of the company’s infrastructure and construction sector. Mr. Chebl has been involved in some of the company’s largest projects in Quebec and around the world, including the Canada Pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai and the Maison Symphonique orchestral hall in Montreal.

SNC-Lavalin’s heavy involvement in Libya has been coming under scrutiny since the country broke into a revolution that eventually saw the overthrew of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi and the death of the dictator in October 2011.

When the revolution broke out early in 2011, the company evacuated most of its workers. The projects it was involved in included an airport, a jail and contracts that were part of a massive water diversion project, known as the Great Man Made River Project.

Mr. Riadh Ben Aissa helped direct the company’s projects for the Great Man Made River project. The project is to transport water from an aquifer under the Sahara Desert through 4,000 kilometres of pipe to Libya’s coastal strip (see Canadian Consulting Engineer, June-July 2010, or click here).

In an “Update on the Situation in Libya” issued March 2, 2011 after evacuating their employees, SNC-Lavalin wrote:

“Finally, for the people of Libya, we send you our sincerest thanks for all your help, for being our neighbours for so long, for keeping our food and water supplies replenished, and for helping our people out of the country, by whatever means. Every employee has a story to tell of Libyan kindness in the face of adversity. Your generosity of spirit inspires us all and we hope that you will soon have stability in this country to whose development of infrastructure we have been glad to contribute for the past 40 years.
“As to the next steps for our projects in this country, we are waiting to see how the sanctions and other initiatives currently underway may have an impact on our projects. We remain optimistic about the future since these projects are intended for the betterment of Libyan society as a whole, but we will await official rulings in this regard and then react accordingly.”