SNC-Lavalin appoints new executive to head infrastructure division

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MONTREAL - SNC-Lavalin continues to shuffle executive positions, announcing the appointment Monday of Hisham Mahmoud to the newly created role of group president, infrastructure.

The appointment is effective early next year.

The Qatar and U.S.-educated engineer was hired away from rival AMEC, where he worked with another star recruit, Neil Bruce, who now heads SNC's resources and environment group.

SNC-Lavalin's new chief executive, Robert Card, has been adjusting his front bench as he tries to turn the page on the Montreal-based company's past, including ethical problems that continue to hurt its results and which have punished its share price.

Mahmoud will oversee all global infrastructure and related businesses, including transportation and operations and maintenance.

Before joining AMEC in 2010, he worked at URS, where he played a leadership role in their infrastructure business.

Mahmoud will head a segment of SNC-Lavalin's (TSX:SNC) business which Card said in May would be a focus, along with resources and environment, and power.

"I know that Hisham's particular expertise in the infrastructure market internationally and his excellent understanding of the issues and evolving concerns of a company of the size and stature of SNC-Lavalin will serve us exceptionally well in our growth strategy," Card said in a news release.

The appointment follows confirmation that Michael Novak, 59, is retiring by year-end after 27 years with the company. The husband of former Quebec justice minister Kathleen Weil is the latest top official to leave the company. He has been registered by SNC-Lavalin as a lobbyist to the Quebec government.

Novak has been president of SNC-Lavalin International and was named among several executives in a $1-billion class-action lawsuit for allegedly assisting in making payments to secure contracts in Libya.

Meanwhile, SNC-Lavalin declined Monday to confirm reports that it is among the global engineering companies interested in acquiring Irish oil and gas engineering firm Kentz Corp.

Published reports say Kentz has been approached by several companies, including AMEC, Germany's M&W and SNC-Lavalin. However, SNC says it won't comment on "rumours" and an industry analyst said he didn't think the company would be in a position to contemplate a $1.3-billion acquisition until it resolves its ethical issues.

Organizations: SNC-Lavalin, AMEC, TSX Kentz

Geographic location: MONTREAL, Qatar, Quebec Libya Germany

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