SNC Lavalin CEO names London based executive and moves to streamline firm

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MONTREAL – The new head of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. has named a senior executive who will be based in the United Kingdom and made some organizational changes aimed at streamlining the beleaguered company.

Interim chief executive Ian Edwards has appointed Nigel White as executive vice-president of a newly created oversight project office that reports directly to the CEO. Edwards says the oversight function will underpin all four sectors of the engineering and construction giant to assess risk and troubleshoot project issues.

The CEO, who was promoted to the top spot one week ago, also says the firm will fold the power sector of Atkins _ the U.K. engineering giant SNC-Lavalin bought in 2017 _into SNC’s infrastructure unit.

Analyst Derek Spronck says the change raises the odds SNC will sell off construction and resource-based businesses to return the firm to its roots in engineering and design. Last month, the Montreal-based company announced plans to stop bidding on fixed-price contracts and wind down operations in 15 countries.

SNC-Lavalin says its new vice-president, slated to start Aug. 1 after leaving his job as executive director at Hong Kong-based Gammon Construction Ltd., has more than three decades of experience, including more than 20 years at British construction company Balfour Beatty.

White’s posting in London continues to raise questions about SNC-Lavalin’s future in Canada, where its business has been shrinking for several years and where an ongoing corruption trial could result in a 10-year ban on federal bidding in the event of a conviction.

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