Desmarais was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame

(Toronto) Nearly nine years after the death of Patriarch Paul Desmarais and 26 years after his two sons, André and Paul, jr., Took over the management of Power Corporation, the three men were inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame on Thursday night by a ceremony in Toronto.

Posted at 7:00

Karim Benessaieh

Karim Benessaieh
The press

This pantheon, established in 1979 by the Canadian organization Junior Achievement, celebrated about 200 personalities from the business world who are considered to be the inspiration for young people. In addition to the three members of the Desmarais family, two other personalities were admitted this year, Maureen Kempston Darkes, vice president of the General Motors group, and Hassan Khosrowshahi, founder of Future Shop.

brothers in arms

At a ceremony held exclusively in English, Paul Desmarais, jr., And André Desmarais began their remarks with thanks in French. They first wanted to pay tribute to their father, a living tribute to their father, who took over the family bus business in 1951, before taking control of Power Corporation in 1968, making it one of the largest Canadian conglomerates. The press until 2018. The first of the two brothers who took the stage, Paul, jr., believes that “his real passion, I think, was ultimately his family”. “He always allowed me to do what I loved to do, and I could not have done it without him,” he continued. At the same time, he greeted his mother, Jacqueline, “always loving and a permanent Eveready pile.” “I could not have asked for better parents. »

He recalled that in an unusual gesture in 1996, his father had given his sons the title of co-chief executive.

“My father was brilliant enough to give us each our zones and our territories,” said the man who laid the foundations of Power Corporation in 1986 as a financial conglomerate. “It is fantastic because it gave us oxygen, the opportunity for each of us to develop our own world, our own leadership with our own team. »

He did a lot to thank top executives, such as Robert Gratton, “the phenomenon of his generation,” and Michel Plessis-Bélair, who helped build the company. “Without these people, I would not have been blessed with a career that I have enjoyed so much.”

“This honor belongs not only to Desmarais, but to the people who have worked with us for decades,” added André Desmarais. He confessed to fearing that his father, after appointing the brothers as bosses, would continue to run the business. A few important acquisitions later, he was reassured and wanted to thank his brother. “He was a wonderful partner. And yet our opinions differed on pretty much everything …”

China and financial services

Paul, Jr., barely held back his tears as he returned the compliment to his brother. “Together we made the decision to turn the business around and go deep into financial services. Throughout all the transactions, we strengthened each other’s courage, and by God we needed it. It felt good to have someone near you with unconditional support. And he was my brother. ”

Earlier in interview with The pressAndré Desmarais acknowledged that tributes like that Thursday night, “it’s always things that bother us, but this time we decided to do it when they decided to honor my father at the same time. It’s pretty special to have my father , brother and I deployed at the same time. It’s great “.

While Power Corporation has long been a highly diversified conglomerate, he believes this introduction rewards success as a financial enterprise group. “When we sold Consolidated Bathurst and the Montreal Trust [en 1989], it gave us a lot of money. It allowed us to make an offer on London Life, and then we made offers to other companies. »

Investments in China, where Power Corporation was an early Canadian player, and in Europe were “probably” considered for this induction.

“I would say it’s a bit of everything in the end …”

Desmarais in a nutshell


Paul Desmarais, in 2007

Paul Desmarais

Born January 4, 1927 in Sudbury, Ontario

In 1951, the family business took over bus transportation

Married Jacqueline Maranger in 1953, with whom he had four children, Paul, André, Louise and Sophie

In 1963, the insurance company bought Imperial Life, then, in 1965, the TransCanada Corporation Fund; he then becomes the owner of The press

Purchased in 1968 through an exchange of shares, Power Corporation, a public utility company founded in Montreal in 1925; he became chairman and chief executive officer in 1970

Power Corporation left the reins to its sons Paul and André in 1996

Died October 8, 2013


André Desmarais, in 2018

Andre Desmarais

Born October 26, 1956 in Ottawa, Ontario

Began his career in 1979 at Campeau Corporation, a real estate company founded by Robert Campeau

Married in 1981 to France Chrétien, daughter of the then Minister of Justice Jean Chrétien

Became Vice President of Power Corporation in 1983

Appointed president and chief operating officer of the media subsidiary Gesca ltée in 1984

In 1996, he became President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation

Announcement of his retirement as Co-CEO in 2020

Vice Chairman of the Board of Power Corporation


Paul Desmarais, Jr.

Paul Desmarais, Jr.

Born July 3, 1954 in Sudbury, Ontario

Received a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and a Masters of Administration from the European Institute of Business Administration in Fontainebleau, France

Worked in the 1970s at SG Warburg in London and at Standard Brands in New York

Joined Power Corporation in 1981

Founded Power Financial and became President and Chief Operating Officer in 1986

Became Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation in 1996

Announces his retirement as Co-Chief Executive Officer in February 2020

Chairman of the Board of Power Corporation

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