Bombardier Inc. (BBD/B) asked former Canadian Auditor General Sheila Fraser to follow in predecessor Denis Desautels’s footsteps a second time by becoming a corporate director.
The world’s third-largest aircraft maker plans to widen its board to 15 members from 14 as Janine Bombardier, the 78-year- old daughter of the company’s founder, retires, according to a proxy filing for the May 10 shareholder meeting.
Fraser, 61, who gained prominence for a series of reports on wasteful federal spending, is “an excellent addition,” said Michel Nadeau, executive director of the Montreal-based Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations. “Auditor generals typically make good board members because they are very rigorous and meticulous.”
Fraser who held the government post from 2001 to 2011, would join Desautels at Bombardier as Chief Executive Officer Pierre Beaudoin works toward a 2013 target for the commercial debut of the company’s largest-ever plane, the CSeries. The narrow-body aircraft will cost about $3.5 billion to develop.
She currently sits on the board of Manulife Financial (MFC) Corp., Canada’s biggest insurer, and is one of two new board nominees. The second is Joanne Bissonnette, 50, a corporate director for various private entities.
Desautels, who served as auditor general from 1991 through 2001, joined Montreal-based Bombardier’s board in 2003. Now 68, he chairs the board of Laurentian Bank of Canada.
Bombardier’s board also includes Frenchman Thierry Desmarest, the former CEO of Paris-based oil and gas company Total SA; Jean Monty, the former CEO of Canadian telecommunications company BCE Inc. (BCE); and Canadian lawyer Daniel Johnson, a former premier of Quebec. Janine Bombardier, who is stepping down, has been a director since 1984 and runs the family foundation.
Bombardier said in the filing that CEO Beaudoin’s compensation increased by 19 percent to $8.17 million in the fiscal year that ended Dec. 31. That included a $1.29 million salary, $3.27 million in share-based awards, $1.48 million in option-based awards, $1.57 million under an annual incentive plan, $362,400 in pension contributions and $193,100 in other compensation such as the personal use of corporate aircraft.
Bombardier’s Class B stock declined 19 percent last year. The shares fell 3 cents to C$4.14 at the close of Toronto trading today. The company plans to spend $1.5 billion this year on equipment, property, plants and new products such as the CSeries.
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