MONTREAL - SNC-Lavalin is creating a new senior management position as the CEO's second-in-command, part of a shuffle of people and responsibilities as the embattled engineering and construction firm reorganizes its business and deals with legal issues.Effective immediately, Neil Bruce _ who has been president of resources, environment and water for the company since 2013 _ will be SNC's chief operating officer. He will move from London to SNC-Lavalin's Montreal headquarters.The presidents of SNC's power and its oil and gas operations will be among those reporting to Bruce, who will continue to report to Robert Card, SNC's chief executive officer and president.Among the departures announced Wednesday is Hisham Mahmoud, who is leaving as president of SNC's infrastructure arm on May 1. He was portrayed as a star recruit when he was hired in 2013 from rival AMEC, where he worked with Bruce.Bruce's accomplishments include his role in last year's $2.1-billion acquisition of Kentz, a U.K.-based company that will be a key driver in SNC's plan to be a leading construction and engineering company for the oil and gas industry."He led the acquisition and very successful integration of Kentz and will add significantly to our operational execution capabilities as our COO," Card said of Bruce in a news release on Wednesday.SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) said the latest effort to streamline its global operations is designed to improve its "operational efficiency" and better serve its clients' needs.Analyst Maxim Sytchev of Dundee Capital Markets said Mahmoud's departure will be perceived negatively."It highlights the company's challenge of turning around the division due to legacy contract issues and in general, a more competitive bidding environment,'' Sytchev wrote in a report.Sytchev said the infrastructure division has been the culprit of most of the negative changes to profit forecasts over the last two years. He said the changes raise questions about SNC's earnings guidance.Also among the departures is Rejean Goulet, the company's general counsel. Goulet will retire in July but continue to assist on legal matters. His interim replacement is Jean-Eric Laferriere, currently senior vice-president for legal affairsSNC has been grappling with a number of events that have spawned criminal and civil allegations against certain former SNC executives. Most of the cases are still before the courts. SNC has said it will plead not guilty to fraud and corruption charges filed against the company in February by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police."Mr. Goulet will continue to assist the company, beyond his retirement date on specific litigation matters, including the recently announced federal charges,'' the company said.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version wrongly said SNC-Lavalin will plead guilty to criminal charges. In fact, it said it will plead not guilty.
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