Aecon Group

Aecon Group

The highly regarded legal team at Aecon Group is led by Yonni Fushman, executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary, and is at the forefront of the infrastructure construction sector in Canada. Fushman holds executive responsibility for managing a broad portfolio of corporate services for the Aecon group of companies, including legal, corporate secretarial, risk management, ethics and compliance, insurance, and strategic planning services. As a nominator explains: ‘When Fushman joined Aecon in 2005, a C$100m project would have been considered a significant deal. Recently, Aecon was awarded the C$5bn Eglinton Crosstown light rail project. Against that backdrop of extremely complex operations, the industry in recent years has moved to more aggressive contracts that shift risk to the contractor while providing only very narrow avenues for relief’. Fushman and his team were instrumental in creating Project Excelsior, and the following programmes were created to change the risk management standard of the organisation: A commercial risk committee (to review significant risks and provide guidance), training of project execution personnel, collecting lessons learned across projects, a risk evaluation committee (to monitor projects during execution), enterprise risk management to identify risks, generate a heat map and assign risk weightings, a risk committee of board of directors and to ultimately develop a compliance function. Excelsior is seen as being innovative in the construction industry. It involved the organisation from the board and senior executives through to those who execute the projects. Risk review committees, training and risk management invites participation of personnel with multi-disciplinary backgrounds from throughout the business, and the legal department takes the lead in the education development and enterprise risk-management analysis. A nominator also identifies: ‘Fushman and the legal team at Aecon are innovative in terms of leading the way in communicating risk to the organisation and bridging the gap between legal, technical risk, and construction field experience’. Some of the team’s significant recent accomplishments include the completion of projects with Bruce Power FCFR, Gordie Howe (PPP), Finch LRT (PPP), REM (PPP), each a nine or 10 figure project, closure of a C$160m convertible debenture offering, plus over-allotment exercise. The team also assisted the closure C$199m sale of Aecon’s contract mining business, which required competition approval, and the renegotiated insurance and bonding broker agreement that led to premium returns of around C$2m, significantly defraying the overhead cost of the group.