After seeing several senior executives leave the ship in recent years, Investissement Québec (IQ) is turning to its number two to bring stability. Bicha Ngo will succeed Guy LeBlanc – who is preparing his exit – at the head of the financial arm of the Quebec state.

The first woman to head the state-owned company, Ms. Ngo, aged 51, has held the position of first executive vice-president of private placements since the end of 2019. Her appointment was ratified by the Council of Ministers of the Legault government, Wednesday. She will begin her position on February 1.

There is no shortage of projects: in a context of economic slowdown, Ms. Ngo will have the mandate to put her hands to work to continue the deployment of the battery sector, where there would be another 15 billion investments to come. She will also have to ensure “stabilization” of senior management, where retention seems to be an issue, particularly since April 2022. Interviewed at a press briefing alongside the Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy Pierre Fitzgibbon and outgoing president and CEO Guy LeBlanc, Ms. Ngo wanted to tone things down.

“There are departures. Does this worry me? No, but we will obviously make sure to stabilize the organization. People left for different reasons. »

The last few weeks have not been easy at IQ. On November 30, La Presse revealed that the state-owned company showed the door to Jocelyn Beauchesne, who was first vice-president of the regional network, for having “violated a governance rule”, without specifying which one. The latter was considered number three in the organization. The details of his dismissal are still unclear. IQ claims that Mr. Beauchesne “did not take any advantage for himself, did not engage in any inappropriate behavior or harassment towards any individual” and that there were “no consequences for the customers “.

This dismissal coincided with the departure of another executive who reported to Mr. LeBlanc: David Stréliski, senior director of risk management and financial governance. Contacted by La Presse, the latter mentioned a “lack of fit” with the board of directors,” without offering more details.

Several senior IQ executives have jumped ship since April 2022. Three of the top seven vice presidents listed in the last annual report have left. They are Christian Settano (finance and credit risks), Sylvie Pinsonnault (strategies and innovation) and M. Beauchesne.

“It’s as if the fire had been caught,” an employee lamented to La Presse, because he is not authorized to speak and wants to protect his job. There is no more relief at all. »

Appointed in 2019, Mr. LeBlanc – a personal friend of Mr. Fitzgibbon – passes the torch to a collaborator who knows the workings of the state corporation well. In her role, Ms. Ngo worked closely with the outgoing President and CEO. Mr. LeBlanc did not intend to serve a second term, explained the minister.

Coming from a Vietnamese family who arrived in Quebec in the mid-1970s, the new leader of IQ has a long track record in the financial sector. Before being hired by the investment arm of the State, she worked at HSBC (account director), Merrill Lynch (partner, investment bank technology group), CIBC Capital Markets (Executive Directorate, investment bank business) and Domtar (vice-president of corporate development).

Ms. Ngo had obtained the highest total remuneration (which takes into account base salary, bonuses and other benefits) within the state-owned company in 2022-2023 with a salary of 1.2 million. This financial year ended with a negative return of 4.8% as well as a loss of 224 million.