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Eight Canadian chief executives who lost their job in 2012

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TORONTO - It was a tough year for many in the corner suite as several chief executives were forced out. Here's a quick look at a few corporate chieftains who lost their job:

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (TSX:SNC): Pierre Duhaime left the company amid an internal accounting investigation in March into questionable payments and a sharp drop in quarterly earnings. The company said an independent probe into certain payments the company made revealed "management override, flawed design or ineffective enforcement of controls" in relation to hiring agents for two of its projects. Duhaime was later charged with fraud in connection with a contract pertaining to the McGill University Health Centre.

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Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (TSX:CP): Fred Green was ousted after a bitter proxy fight between the railway and its largest shareholder. Pershing Square Capital Management accused the railway of being poorly managed and waged a months-long campaign to replace much the board and Green, who was replaced by former CN chief executive Hunter Harrison in June.

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Research In Motion Ltd. (TSX:RIM): Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis stepped aside as co-chairmen and co-chief executives amid pressure from disgruntled shareholders in January. Thorsten Heins, the company's chief operating officer, was named to the chief executive job, while Barbara Stymiest was named chairwoman. Balsillie eventually resigned from the RIM board in March, while Lazaridis remains on the board and serves as vice-chairman.

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Kinross Gold Corp. (TSX:K): Tye Burt was replaced by J. Paul Rollinson, the company's executive vice-president of corporate development, in a bid to improve the gold miner's lagging performance. Shares in Kinross were hit earlier this year after it slowed the development of its three major projects, including its Tasiast mine that it acquired in 2010 with its US$7.1-billion purchase of Red Back Mining.

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Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX): Aaron Regent was replaced by Jamie Sokalsky, the company's chief financial officer, in June in hopes of helping restore the company's lacklustre share price. Barrick founder and chairman Peter Munk had been openly critical of the company's share price and told the company's annual meeting that it wasn't satisfactory.

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Nexen Inc. (TSX:NXY): Marvin Romanow was replaced by Kevin Reinhart, the company's chief financial officer, in January as the company struggled with problems at its Long Lake oilsands project. The company ended up signing a deal in July to be bought by China National Offshore Oil Company for $15.1 billion in cash.

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Talisman Energy Inc. (TSX:TLM): John Manzoni was turfed in September in favour of Hal Kvisle, the former chief executive of pipeline company TransCanada. The company said it needed a different leadership approach as it shifted strategic direction. Under Kvisle, Talisman has said it will focus less on chasing risky, expensive international exploration projects and more on bolstering its finances and operational performance.

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