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Eric Martel leaving Hydro-Quebec to become president, CEO of Bombardier

Last Updated Mar 11, 2020 at 11:44 pm EDT

Hydro Quebec president Eric Martel responds to a question during an interview with The Canadian Press in Montreal on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Martel will leave the management of Hydro-Québec in order to return to Bombardier where he previously headed the business jet division. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

MONTREAL — Bombardier Inc. is replacing chief executive Alain Bellemare as it moves ahead with its new focus on business jets.

Bombardier said Eric Martel has been appointed president and chief executive officer and a member of the Bombardier board of directors, effective April 6.

Martel joins Bombardier from Hydro-Québec, where he served as president and chief executive officer since July 2015.

Prior to joining Hydro-Quebec, Martel held a number of leadership positions at Bombardier, including president of the business aircraft division and president of the customer services and specialized aircraft division.

Pierre Beaudoin, chairman of the Bombardier board of directors, said Martel is the right leader at the right time for Bombardier as the company focuses on business jets.

“He is an engaging builder with a deep understanding of our organization and product portfolio as well as of the global business aircraft industry,” Beaudoin said late Wednesday in a release. 

“He has enjoyed great success in his career through operational excellence, tight management of complex manufacturing processes and a personalized approach towards customers.”

Martel said he is excited and honoured to rejoin Bombardier as it begins a new chapter.

“I have always been passionate about Bombardier, its employees and products, and I look forward to building a highly successful, agile and focused company, capable of providing unmatched service to customers, world-class opportunities to employees and creating value for our shareholders,” Martel said in a release.

Beaudoin said with its turnaround plan almost complete, the board, including Bellemare, agreed it was time for a leadership change.

Bellemare said he is proud of what Bombardier has accomplished in recent years.

Hydro-Quebec was not immediately available for comment.

Last month, Bombardier reached a US$8.2-billion deal to sell its rail business to French rail giant Alstom SA, narrowing the Quebec company’s focus to business jets while casting off its largest division to help pay down US$9.3 billion in debt.

The sale shrinks a company that a year ago boasted three major divisions — planes, trains and business jets — leaving it with just one at the end of a five-year turnaround that one analyst said looked more like an asset liquidation.

Bombardier sold several divisions since Bellemare took the helm in 2015, including its turboprop and aerostructure segments as well as its commercial airline unit, once touted as the company’s crown jewel.

The Montreal-based company announced in January that it was working to reduce debt and pursuing strategic options.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 11, 2020


Companies in this story: (TSX:BBD.B)

The Canadian Press

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