Concordia’s CFO Gets $235,000 Severance After 3 Months in Office

Sonia Trudel’s Departure Was a “Mutual Agreement”

Sonia Trudel worked as CFO at Concordia University for less than three months. File Photo Shaun Michaud

Concordia gave $235,000 to now-departed executive Sonia Trudel, less than three months after she took up the university’s Chief Financial Officer position.

The severance package is stipulated in Trudel’s contract as being a year’s salary, according to documents obtained by The Link in an access to information request. She will receive the $235,000 as a salary continuance.

Trudel was also given the right to insurance, benefits and access to an “annual professional development or scholarly research allowance” of $5,000, according to her termination letter. She had access to these benefits for 60 days after she was fired.

Concordia is also offering “transition assistance” for four months.

President Alan Shepard chose not to comment on the severance package in an interview on Friday. He said the departure was amicable.

Trudel began working at Concordia on Aug. 17, and assumed the CFO position on Sept. 21. She left Concordia on Nov. 12, according to her discharge documents.

Sonia Trudel worked as CFO for less than three months. Photo courtesy of Concordia University.

According to Quebec labour laws, employers are supposed to provide up to eight weeks of pay, depending on the employee’s seniority. This doesn’t apply if the employee worked for less than three months.

Before joining Concordia, she worked in CBC/Radio-Canada’s Real Estate Division and SNC-Lavalin Nexacor, a property management subsidiary of engineering and construction company SNC-Lavalin.

Outgoing CFO Patrick Kelley resumed as interim head of Financial Services. Kelley had been Concordia’s CFO since 2010.

“We are searching again for the next CFO,” Shepard said on Friday.

The job posting will be up soon, he added, while commenting that the hiring process will “fundamentally” be the same.

Her departure came at a time when universities in Quebec face budget cuts from the provincial government. Concordia’s 2015-2016 budget expects a deficit of $8.2 million and the university has lost more than $36 million in government subsidies since 2012.

Concordia has offered six-figure severance packages to dismissed executives in the past.

In 2010, Judith Woodsworth was urged to leave her position as president by the university’s board of directors halfway through her term in office. She returned the following year to Concordia as a French translation professor, but not before she was promised $703,500—or the equivalent of two years salary.

Before her, former president Claude Lajeunesse, was dismissed in 2007 and took the $1 million remaining in his contract.

The university was fined $2 million by the Minister of Education in 2012 for the payouts to senior administration.

Read the documents here.

With files from Jonathan Caragay-Cook