Desmarais has been inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame

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

Posted at 7:00 am

Karim Benessaieh

Karim Benessaieh
The Press

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


In a ceremony held exclusively in English, Paul Desmarais, jr, and André Desmarais began their speeches with gratitude in French. They first wanted to pay a hearty 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, which, among other things, owner of The Press until 2018. The first of two siblings to take the stage, Paul, jr, believes that “his real desire, I think, ultimately, is his family”. “He always allowed me to do what I wanted to do, and I couldn’t do it without him,” he continued. At the same time, he greeted his mother, Jacqueline, “always loving and a permanent Eveready pile”. “I can’t ask for a better parent. »

He recalls that his father, in an unusual act in 1996, gave the title of co-chief executive to his sons.

“My father was brilliant enough to give us each of our zones and our areas,” said the man who laid the foundation of Power Corporation in 1986 as a financial services conglomerate. “It was great, because it gave us oxygen, the opportunity to each build our own world, our own leadership along with our own team. »

He thanked leading collaborators, such as Robert Gratton, “the phenomenon of his generation”, and Michel Plessis-Bélair, who contributed to the company’s formation. “Without these individuals, I would not have been blessed with a career that I have enjoyed so much.»

“This honor is not only for Desmarais, but to the people who have worked with us over the decades,” André Desmarais added. He admitted in fear that his father, after appointing the brothers co-chief, would continue to run the business. After some important retrieval, he was relieved and wanted to thank his brother. “She is a very good partner. However, we have different opinions on almost everything… ”

China and financial services

Paul, Jr., could hardly hold back his tears as he returned the compliment to his brother. “Together we made the decision to pivot the business and enter financial services. In all transactions, we strengthen each other’s courage and, to God, we need it. It feels good to have someone close to you with unconditional support. And he is my brother. »

Earlier in the interview than The PressAndré Desmarais admitted that awards like on Thursday night, “these are always things that bother us, but this time, we decided to do it, because they decided to honor my father at the same time. It’s pretty special to have my dad, brother and I inducted at the same time. Ang galing “.

While Power Corporation has long been a highly diversified conglomerate, he believes this induction rewards successes as a financial services group. “When we sold Consolidated Bathurst and Montreal Trust [en 1989], it gave us a lot of money. This allowed us to offer for London Life and, thereafter, we made offers for other companies. »

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

“I’ll say it’s a little at all, ultimately …”

Desmarais in short


Paul Desmarais, in 2007

Paul Desmarais

Born January 4, 1927 in Sudbury, Ontario

In 1951 the family took over the bus transportation business

Jacqueline Maranger was married in 1953, with whom she had four children, Paul, André, Louise and Sophie.

In 1963, the Imperial Life insurance company was acquired, 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 of the Board and Chief Executive Officer in 1970

The reins of Power Corporation were given to his sons Paul and André in 1996

Died October 8, 2013


André Desmarais, in 2018

Andre Desmarais

Born October 26, 1956 in Ottawa, Ontario

His career began 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

Named president and chief operating officer of 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

Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors 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

In the 1970s, worked at SG Warburg, in London, and at Standard Brands, in New York

Joined Power Corporation in 1981

Power Financial was founded and became President and Chief Operating Officer in 1986

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

His retirement as Co-Chief Executive Officer was announced in February 2020

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Power Corporation

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