Desmarais was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame

(Toronto) Nearly nine years after the death of the patriarch, Paul Desmaris, and 26 years after his two sons, Andre and Paul, Jr., took the reins of the Power Corporation, the three men were inducted Thursday evening into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame at a gala in Toronto. .

Posted at 7:00 am

Karim Ben Issa

Karim Ben Issa

Created by the Canadian organization Junior Achievement in 1979, this pantheon celebrates nearly 200 personalities from the business world who are considered to be an inspiration to young people. In addition to three members of the Desmarais family, two more people have been recruited this year, Maureen Kempston Darkes, GM Group Vice President, 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 thank-you notes in French. They initially wanted to honor their father, who took over the family bus company in 1951 before taking over the Power Corporation in 1968, making it one of Canada’s largest conglomerates, which, among other things, owned Journalism Until 2018. Paul Jr., the first of the two brothers to take the stage, believes his “real passion, I think, in the end, was his family.” He continued, “He has always allowed me to do what I love to do, and I couldn’t have done without him.” At the same time, he saluted his mother, Jacqueline, “always loving and a perpetual pile.” “I couldn’t have asked for better parents.”

He noted that his father, in an unusual gesture in 1996, awarded his sons the title of co-CEO.

“My father was clever enough to give us all our lands and territories,” said the man who laid the foundations of the Power Corporation in 1986 as a financial services conglomerate. “It’s great, because it gave us oxygen, the potential for everyone to develop our world, and our own leadership with our own team.”

He made sure to thank outstanding employees, such as Robert Gratton, his “phenomenon of his generation,” and Michel Plessis-Belair, who helped build the company. “Without these individuals, I would not have had a career that I enjoyed so much.”

“This honor belongs not only to Desmarais, but to the people who have worked with us for decades,” added André Desmarais. And he admitted his fear that his father, after appointing the brothers as assistant heads, would continue to run the company. After some important acquisitions, he felt reassured and wanted to thank his brother. “He was a great partner. However, our opinions differed on just about everything…”

China and financial services

Paul Jr. barely contained his tears as he returned the compliment to his brother. “Together we made a decision to direct business and go deeper into financial services. Through all the transactions, we strengthened each other’s courage and God needed it. It was good to have someone near you with unconditional support. And he was my brother.”

Earlier in an interview with JournalismAndré Desmarais acknowledged that the tribute is like the one that took place 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 is very special to make me, my father, and my brother at the same time. Wonderful “.

While the Power Corporation has long been a highly diversified conglomerate, he believes this definition rewards successes as a financial services group. “When we sold Consolidated Bathurst and Montreal Trust [en 1989]He gave us a lot of money. It allowed us to pitch to London Life, and after that, we pitched for other companies. »

Investments were ‘probably’ considered in China, where Power Corporation was an early Canadian player, and in Europe.

“I’d say it’s part of everything, in the end…”

The Desmarais in short


Paul Desmaris, in 2007

Paul Desmaris

Born January 4, 1927 in Sudbury, Ontario

In 1951 he took over the family business of bus transportation

He married Jacqueline Maranger in 1953, and they had four children, Paul, Andre, Louise and Sophie

In 1963 it acquired the Imperial Life Insurance Company, and then in 1965 it acquired the Trans Canada Foundation Fund; Then it becomes the owner Journalism

Acquired in 1968, through a stock exchange, Power Corporation, a public utility company incorporated in Montreal in 1925; He became Chairman and CEO in 1970

He ceded the Power Corporation to his sons Paul and Andre in 1996

He passed away on October 8, 2013

Photo of Andrei Petchet, press archives

André Desmarais, in 2018

Andre Desmaris

Born October 26, 1956 in Ottawa, Ontario

He started his career in 1979 at Campo Corporation, a real estate company founded by Robert Campo

In 1981 he married Chretien, the daughter of then Minister of Justice Jean Chretien

Became Vice President of Power Corporation in 1983

He was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of the media subsidiary Gesca ltée in 1984.

In 1996 he became president and co-CEO of Power Corporation

Announcing his retirement as Co-CEO in 2020

Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Power Corporation

Photo of Andrei Petchet, press archives

Paul Desmarais Jr.

Paul Desmarais Jr.

Born July 3, 1954 in Sudbury, Ontario

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and an MA in Management from the European Institute of Business Administration in Fontainebleau, France.

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

Joined the Energy Corporation in 1981

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

Became Chairman and Co-CEO of Power Corporation in 1996

Announced his retirement as Co-CEO in February 2020

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Power Corporation

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