Arthur Porter still in charge of MUHC
Published Monday, November 14, 2011 7:45AM EST
MONTREAL - Arthur Porter will be staying on as CEO and president of the McGill University Health Centre following an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss the embattled man's future with the organization.
Porter, who has been head of the MUHC since 2004, came under public scrutiny this past week over allegations of controversial business dealings. The scrutiny prompted his resignation as the civilian chief of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the body that oversees Canada's spy agency CSIS.
Following this revelation, the chairman of the MUHC's board of director called Sunday's emergency meeting to discuss Porter's business interests.
That meeting began in the afternoon and continued well into the evening. After it ended, members of the board remained tight-lipped, although many looked upset. One board member finally revealed to reporters that Porter was still in charge.
Early Monday morning the MUHC released a statement saying, "the Board of Directors supports his ongoing efforts in leading and advancing the redevelopment of the MUHC."
"Dr. Porter fully disclosed his outside activities in the community and elsewhere and received approval of the MUHC Board to engage in these pursuits. The time demanded by such activities now appears to be more than originally anticipated."
Porter is scheduled to resign as MUHC CEO on March 31, 2012, as announced in April.
Porter's business dealings revealed
A newspaper article published in the National Post last week revealed Porter, a native of Sierra Leone, once struck a deal with middleman Ari Ben-Menashe on a $120-million aid-for-development initiative from Russia.
That deal would have given African Infrastructure Group, a firm owned by Dr. Porter and his family, the chance to manage infrastructure projects in his homeland.
Ben-Menashe is a controversial figure who claims involvement with the Israeli government.
His Montreal consultancy has done work for notorious Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.
Porter said the story has been blown out of proportion.
"There was basically a group of folks who had talked to some consultants to see if we can get some funding for a desperately poor country -- to build bridges, ferries, etc. The entire deal was to find out if there was. As it's turned out there was never really any funding," he explained.
Porter admits the issue has damaged his reputation, and instead hoped to tout his accomplishments – namely that the new hospital is being built.
"We still have… a wonderful hospital coming out of the ground at rapid rates," said Porter about the MUHC superhospital currently under construction in the Glen Yards.
Porter also insists that despite the outside interests, he's not to busy to oversee the MUHC.
"When there has been an issue, I've been able to deal with it," he said.