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Payout to former SNC chief will total millions

Pierre Duhaime left Montreal-based SNC Lavalin on Monday after the board revealed he overruled his chief financial officer and approved payments to an outside agent whose identity and function remain a mystery.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

SNC Lavalin Group Inc. will not say what sort of compensation former chief executive officer Pierre Duhaime took with him when he left his position, but securities filings show the 23-year company veteran is due millions of dollars in payouts and a lucrative pension.

SNC chairman Gwyn Morgan would not discuss what, if any, severance package Mr. Duhaime would receive.

"We don't talk about the terms of departures of any executive," Mr. Morgan said during a conference call Monday with journalists and analysts. "Those are confidential and, in fact, specifically prohibited by the terms."

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Mr. Duhaime, 57, left the Montreal-based company Monday after the board revealed he overruled his chief financial officer and approved payments to an outside agent whose identity and function remain a mystery.

A total of $56-million (U.S.) in company funds have gone missing, prompting the board to call in police.

Mr. Morgan said Mr. Duhaime "made some errors" but characterized his departure as a retirement.

It's not clear whether Mr. Duhaime resigned or was terminated, and if he was terminated, whether it was for cause. If he was terminated without cause, his employment agreement, according to an SNC securities filing, "stipulates that any amounts payable will be determined in accordance with applicable legal requirements and jurisprudence."

Securities filings show Mr. Duhaime is owed close to $4-million worth of special stock awards, based on the current value of SNC stock.

Mr. Duhaime also had 274,100 stock options outstanding as of Monday, but all but about 12,000 of them were granted at strike prices of $52 or more, making them worthless at Tuesday's closing stock price of $41.70.

As of the end of 2010, Mr. Duhaime, who received total compensation of $5-million that year, was entitled to an annual pension of $128,800, rising to almost $300,000 when he turns 65. Those amounts had likely increased by the time of his departure.

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SNC will eventually disclose the amount of any severance paid to Mr. Duhaime between now and its 2013 annual meeting.

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About the Author

Sean Silcoff joined The Globe and Mail in January, 2012, following an 18-year-career in journalism and communications. He previously worked as a columnist and Montreal correspondent for the National Post and as a staff writer at Canadian Business Magazine, where he was project co-ordinator of the magazine's inaugural Rich 100 list. More

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