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SNC-Lavalin’s new CEO begins “new chapter”

Neil Bruce begins speech at CORIM with recounting formative experiences as a young engineer on a North Sea oil rig.


Bruce Neil, SNC-Lavalin.

Bruce Neil, SNC-Lavalin.

SNC-Lavalin reported its third-quarter financial results on November 5 in Montreal. Neil Bruce, who took over as president and chief executive officer of the company in October, said they were pleased, “particularly with E&C [engineering and construction], which has allowed us to maintain our full year guidance.” The company reported IFRS net income for the third quarter of $224.2 million, or $1.49 per diluted share, compared with $60.0 million, or $0.39 per diluted share, for the corresponding period in 2014.
A few days later, on November 10, at his first public appearance since becoming head of Canada’s largest engineering company, Bruce spoke at the Conseil des Relations International de Montréal (CORIM). He delivered a speech entitled “The Beginning of a New Chapter.”
He began by sharing vivid memories of some of his formative experiences as a young Scottish engineer on North Sea oil rigs.
He went on to discuss the “purpose and impact of engineering,” and related SNC-Lavalin’s achievements on projects all over the world and goals for the future.
Then he talked about dealing with the legacy issues of the past and the federal charges. He said that unfortunately, these “point the finger more broadly at the 40,000 employees who did nothing wrong, and who are frankly among the best and brightest in Canada and around the world.”
In this regard he advocates something called a Deferred Prosecution Agreement [DPA]. He said this is a process that other G7 countries use “that has served the public interest effectively to resolve similar matters. It enables them to balance accountability while securing the employment of tens of thousands of employees, and ensure the continued contribution of the Company to the economy.” He said, “If adopted in Canada, it [DPA] would ensure that Canadian businesses are no longer at a disadvantage to their counterparts in countries with a DPA, such as the United Kingdom and the United States.”
His concluding remarks were: “SNC-Lavalin has been a cornerstone and part of the fabric of the Canadian and Quebec economies for more than 100 years.
“We are proud to have been such an important part in building this great country.
“As Canada’s largest engineering and construction firm, we contribute to job creation and economic growth beyond our own activities and those of our suppliers.
“Our involvement in major projects across the country is a catalyst for Canadian enterprises through innovative, world-class processes, technologies and expertise.
“SNC-Lavalin plays a strategic role in developing the engineering profession, promoting quality jobs with great, long-term career opportunities.
“And on every continent, we provide internationally recognized expertise and contribute to local economies.
“Today, many people around the world know the expertise of SNC-Lavalin that is headquartered here in Montreal.
“Everything that we have done and the daily efforts of our 40,000 employees will ensure that we continue to build what matters in Canada and overseas for the next 100 years.”
To read the full text of Bruce’s speech, click here.