SNC-Lavalin Shareholder Faults Board for Problems
SNC-Lavalin’s biggest shareholder comments on the company’s corruption investigation woes in relation to its North African operations (Bloomberg Businessweek).
Stephen Jarislowsky, CEO of Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd., which holds about 14% of SNC-Lavalin stock, said, “We have a board that didn’t keep its eye on things. The discipline was pretty loose.” SNC-Lavalin’s board “clearly didn’t perform its function, and the executive more or less operated on his own,” Jarislowsky said, referring to ex-SNC VP Riadh Ben Aissa. The recent events at SNC-Lavalin “are a black mark for the board. They didn’t show that they understood project management.” The directors serving prior to SNC’s payment-booking scandal “didn’t do their job, period. It’s not complicated.”
Jarislowsky also criticized SNC-Lavalin’s board for authorizing CEO Pierre Duhaime’s departure package of $4.97 million. “I think he should have been fired on the spot,” he said.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Honourable John Baird, is reported to have recently told lawmakers in Ottawa that Canada plans to cooperate with the Swiss investigation into fraud, bribery and money-laundering allegations against SNC-Lavalin’s Riadh Ben Aissa. Baird said, “There are very serious allegations being made against this company, there are very serious investigations going on….. High ethical standards for Canadian enterprises are not something that’s up for negotiation.”
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