Bombardier defends CEO’s absence from special meeting following 5,000 layoffs

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MONTREAL — Bombardier is defending its chief executive, Alain Bellemare, who stood out in his absence from a special meeting to take stock of the 2,500 jobs in Quebec that the company plans to cut.

Spokesman Olivier Marcil says the company did not “hide” Bellemare and that his boss has a “schedule that is very, very busy.”

Bellemare has avoided any interviews since the Montreal-based company announced last week it will chop 5,000 workers worldwide and sell off key assets, including its Q400 aircraft program.

Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon deflected questions around Bellemare’s absence this morning, noting that two Bombardier representatives were present at the meeting in downtown Montreal.

Fitzgibbon told a news conference that Bombardier contributed “very actively” to the discussion, which brought together union representatives and aerospace industry leaders.

The minister tried to reassure Quebeckers that the province’s aerospace sector is healthy and growing, despite restructuring at the plane-and-train maker. He said he is hopeful an ongoing labour shortage means all affected Bombardier employees will be able to find new work within the next 12 to 18 months.

 

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

The Canadian Press