Mark Rendell

Changes at Det’on Cho: A Senior Management Shake-up?

The goal is profit and the situation is fluid, says the new co-president of restructuring

After posting a significant net loss in 2014, one of Yellowknife’s largest companies, Det’on Cho Corporation, is restructuring and the future of the company’s senior management is uncertain.

On Jan. 5, the company, which is wholly owned by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, brought in consultant Bob Murphy as co-president of restructuring. His role, he told EDGEYK.com, is simple: to help make the company profitable again. This seems to include changes to upper-level management, though details remain sparse.

“As of today Roy [Erasmus] is still CEO and president,” said Murphy, although he described the current situation as fluid. He said Erasmus has to make a decision in the next week or two, but would not go into detail about exactly what this decision might entail.

The company’s restructuring comes after a string of unpleasant financial news: it posted a $3.3 million net loss in 2014, according to the most recent public financial statement from YKDFN. The previous year, Det’on Cho had broken even, but barely; revenues of $83 million were eaten away by expenses, leaving the company with a paltry net income of $152,318.

The company owns a number of subsidiaries, including Bouwa Whee Catering Ltd. Recently, YKDFN co-signed a $1.7 million loan* from the First Nations Bank of Canada when the catering company switched their banking from RBC. Still, Bouwa Whee’s Smokehouse Café in N’Dilo closed in December because it was losing too much money.

Murphy said there was no plan to sell off the company’s subsidiaries, but some may be reformed to become more profitable.

Det’on Cho has landed some major contracts in recent years, most prominently the $16 million Giant Mine bypass. The project, however, was plagued with problems, including a lawsuit last August by Bassett Petroleum Distributors Ltd., which claimed Det’on Cho had not paid them for nearly $100,000 worth of fuel.

Murphy would not comment on whether Rick Miller, vice-president of mining and construction, still had his job. When contacted, Miller also declined to comment on his relationship with the company.