SNC-Lavalin hires former Siemens ethics chief

26 February 2013 0 Comments

Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin has hired a former ethics chief from Siemens to guide the company on corporate governance as it weathers a major corruption scandal.

Andreas Pohlmann will become chief compliance officer on March 1, SNC-Lavalin announced on 22 February.

He was previously chief compliance officer at Siemens AG, where he oversaw the creation of its compliance and corporate governance system.

He then founded the consulting firm Pohlmann & Company – Compliance and Governance Advisory LLP, advising on transparency, responsibility and risk management.

Former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime and another former top executive, Riadh Ben Aissa, are facing fraud charges stemming from a contract involving the building of the multi-billion-dollar McGill University Health Centre in Montreal.

Meanwhile, corruption investigations are underway in three countries linked to the company’s alleged activities in Libya and elsewhere in North Africa.

Andreas Pohlmann

But despite its difficulties SNC-Lavalin has been winning choice contracts around the world and seems set to recover the approximately CAN$2bn wiped off its market value last February when it disclosed financial irregularities.

President and CEO Robert Card, formerly of CH2M Hill, who replaced Mr Duhaime last October, said Andreas Pohlmann “has lived through experiences similar to ours, albeit on a different scale, so we are confident that his expertise will serve us well in the months to come as we move beyond the past and towards the type of world-class compliance system that he helped install at Siemens”.

Mr Duhaime was relieved of his duties in March 2012 after an internal review showed he signed off on $56m in payments to undisclosed agents. He was arrested last November by Quebec’s anti-corruption squad.

Riadh Ben Aissa, former executive vice president in charge of construction, was arrested in April 2012 in Switzerland and is awaiting a trial there on charges relating to alleged corruption, fraud and money-laundering in North Africa.

A Canadian consultant hired by SNC-Lavalin, Cynthia Vanier, is in prison in Mexico on charges of allegedly plotting to smuggle Saadi Gaddafi to Mexico.