UPDATE 2-Canada's SNC-Lavalin to replace CEO hired amid bribery scandal

Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:58am EDT
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(Adds analyst comment, market reaction.)

Sept 14 (Reuters) - The chief executive hired to steer Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin Group Inc through a wide-ranging corruption scandal in 2012 will step down next month, handing off the company to his operations chief, the company said on Monday.

Robert Card, an outsider brought in after the Montreal-based firm was rocked by allegations of corruption against former executives, will be succeeded by Chief Operating Officer Neil Bruce effective Oct. 5. Card will stay on as an advisor.

AltaCorp Capital analyst Chris Murray said the announcement was not a surprise, given an April reorganization that saw Bruce elevated to chief operating officer, with the heads of four operating divisions reporting to him. He had previously led the company's resources and environment group.

"I think it would be fair to think that it may just be the end of his term," said Murray on Card. "It might be time to move to the next phase of the company's growth."

SNC said it would not hire a new chief operating officer.

Bruce has been with SNC since 2013, and helped build up the company's oil and gas business. He had previously been chief operating officer at rival firm AMEC, now Amec Foster Wheeler PLC.

"Together, we will deliver improved results and returns as we continue to improve operational efficiency, while managing the remaining legacy issues," he said in a statement.

While SNC has won some key contracts and overhauled its ethics and compliance system under Card, the firm is still dealing with the fallout from the bribery scandal. In February, Canadian police brought corruption charges against the company. SNC said it would plead not guilty.   Continued...