Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare to step down

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Alain Bellemare, President and CEO of Bombardier Inc.,speaks at a news briefing in in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Canada, November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo

(Reuters) - Canada's Bombardier Inc BBDb.TO said late Wednesday Chief Executive Officer Alain Bellemare would step down and be replaced by former company executive and Hydro-Quebec CEO Eric Martel.

Bellemare, who took over the top job at Bombardier in 2015, has steered the company through some of its biggest challenges, including a brush with bankruptcy due to its costly C Series jet program.

Under his watch, the company has narrowed its focus on making business jets, after offloading its stake in the A220 passenger jet program - formerly known as the C Series - to Airbus SE AIR.PA and selling the rail division to France's Alstom SA ALSO.PA earlier this year.

“With the five-year turnaround plan nearing completion, the board, including Mr. Bellemare, unanimously concluded that it was the appropriate time for a new leader to take the helm of the corporation,” Bombardier said in a statement.

Martel had worked with Bombardier for 13 years and was the president of its business aircraft unit before joining the hydropower producer as CEO in 2015.

Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Anil D’Silva