MONTREAL – SNC-Lavalin will try to continue to distance itself from past scandals with the replacement of its former long-time chief financial officer, who was only recently put in charge of the company’s lucrative infrastructure and investments unit.Gilles Laramee, who joined the Montreal-based company in 1986, will retire on Aug. 9. He was replaced as CFO last month by Alain-Pierre Raynaud, a former executive of French nuclear giant Areva.Laramee, who is in his 50s, was named late last year to take over the new infrastructure and concessions business unit to provide “strategic oversight and more active management of the business to leverage its full value.”Asked Thursday why he was leaving so soon after his promotion, SNC-Lavalin spokeswoman Leslie Quinton described it as a “personal choice.”Despite his shift in positions, Laramee survived earlier this year when new chief executive Robert Card shook up the embattled engineering firm’s senior management team and created a new organizational structure as SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) tries to turn the page on bribery and other allegations that have sullied its reputation.SNC’s former CEO and vice-president have been charged with fraud over allegations that $22.5 million was used to win the $1.3 billion Montreal megahospital contract in 2010.According to an SNC internal investigation, Laramee refused to sign off on payments allegedly ordered by Riadh Ben Aissa, a former vice-president jailed in Switzerland. Former CEO Pierre Duhaime approved the payments, but Laramee never informed SNC’s board of directors.Card thanked Laramee for his “27 years of service and extensive contributions to the company.”At SNC-Lavalin’s annual meeting in May, Card outlined his strategy for the future, which included the sale of non-core infrastructure assets and the possibility of reducing its stake in other large investments.SNC-Lavalin’s main concession assets are 407 International and AltaLink, one of Canada’s largest power transmission companies. It also has ownership stakes in a series of projects including the new concert hall for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the new megahospital it is building in Montreal.The assets provide financial stability but Card said they are also very attractive to potential partners.Maxim Sytchev of Dundee Securities said Laramee’s departure is not unexpected and is a “natural progression on any turnaround situation.”“When Bob Card came in Oct. 1, there was anticipation that we’re going to witness a full turnover in the C-suite and that’s exactly what we’ve seen,” he said.Sytchev said the timing of Laramee’s departure has nothing to do with any asset sales.Smaller assets may be sold, but he said the investment community cares most about Highway 407 and AltaLink.“It’s sort of difficult right now to contemplate anything unless the company settles all the ethical issues and that has a timing of its own,” said Sytchev.On the Toronto Stock Exchange, SNC’s shares closed up 30 cents at $44.15 on Thursday. SNC-Lavalin vice-president to retire soon after shift from CFO position AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Jul 4, 2013 6:08 pm MDT
“Today, as the global community comes together around the new 2030 Agenda, the role teachers play has never have been more important,” said the heads of key UN agencies in a joint statement on the Day.Quality teachers are increasingly recognized as the most important factor in children’s learning- and thus, in improving educational attainment levels, increasing the ability of young people to participate in society and today’s knowledge economies, boosting productivity and prosperity.The statement was issued by UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova; UN International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Director-General, Guy Ryder; UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director, Anthony Lake; UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Administrator, Helen Clark; and Fred van Leeuwen, the General Secretary of Education International, which represents teachers’ organizations across the globe.The statement underscored the mounting shortage of quality teachers, unequal distribution of trained teachers, and inadequate or non-existent national standards for the teaching profession.These are all key contributing factors to wide equity gaps in access and learning. According to estimates compiled by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, to achieve universal primary education by 2020, countries will need to recruit a total of 10.9 million primary teachers.“This is a global education crisis in the making – unless we act,” said the officials, noting that the looming crisis was recognized at the 2015 World Education Forum, in Incheon, South Korea, where leaders committed to “ensure that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems.The new global education goal, Sustainable Development Goal 4, which is at the heart of the Education 2030 Agenda, call for “inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”“Realizing this goal is critical to achieving all our global development targets – for strong societies depend on well-educated citizens and a well-trained workforce. But we can only realize this agenda if we invest in recruiting, supporting, and empowering teachers,” explained the UN agency heads.In a separate statement on the Day, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) highlighted the key roles teachers play in empowering students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the 21st century and better connect with people and experiences beyond their borders. “Being well-trained, dedicated, enthusiastic and interactive, our teachers are reshaping the future of our school children. The ways our teachers are working through the reform are being noted beyond UNRWA,” said Caroline Pontefract, Director of Education at UNRWA. This year’s celebrations give the Agency an important opportunity to recognize the important work of UNRWA teachers, who continue to deliver quality education despite the many difficulties the face, including the ongoing crisis in Syria and last year’s devastating conflict in Gaza, as well as an unprecedented funding shortfall in the Agency’s core programming budget had risked a delay in the school year in Jordan, Gaza, the West Bank, Syria and Lebanon. World Teachers’ Day, held annually since 1994, commemorates the anniversary of the signing in 1966 of the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers, and celebrates the essential role of teachers in providing quality education at all levels. The Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers has, essentially, served as a charter of rights for teachers worldwide.