Paul Desmarais Jr, MBA'79
Chairman & Co-CEO, Power Corporation of Canada
Born in Sudbury, Ontario in 1954, Paul Desmarais, Jr. studied at McGill University where he obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He then graduated from the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) in Fontainebleau, France, with a Master's degree in Business Administration (MBA). He is Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation of Canada (PCC) and Co-Chairman of Power Financial Corporation (PFC).
Prior to joining PCC in 1981, he was with S.G. Warburg & Co. in London, England, and with Standard Brands Incorporated in New York. He was President and Chief Operating Officer of PFC from 1986 to 1989, and was Chairman from 1990 to 2005. He was named to his present position with PCC in 1996. He is a Director and member of the Executive Committee of many Power group companies in North America including Great-West Lifeco and its major subsidiaries, and IGM Financial and its major subsidiaries. He is also Executive Director and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Pargesa Holding S.A. (Switzerland), Vice-Chairman of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (Belgium), and a Director of Total S.A., GDF Suez and Lafarge S.A. (France), as well as being a member of both the Nominating and Compensation Committee of GDF-Suez. From 1993 to 2003 he was a member of the Nominating and Compensation Committee of Imerys.
Mr. Desmarais is Chairman of the Board of Governors of The International Economic Forum of the Americas, Founder and member of the International Advisory Committee of l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) and Founder and Member of the International Advisory Board of the McGill University Faculty of Management in Canada. He is a member of the International Council and a member of the Advisory Council at INSEAD, National Campaign Co-Chair of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, a Trustee of The Brookings Institution, Co-Chair of the Brookings International Advisory Council (Washington) and a member of the Global Board of Advisers of the Council on Foreign Relations.
In 1992, Mr. Desmarais received the '125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada' Medal. He received the 'Insigne d'Officier de l'Ordre de la Couronne' in Belgium in 1994 and in 2002, he received the 'Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee' Medal. In 2005 he was named 'Officer of the Order of Canada' and he received the 'Executive of the Year Award' from the Academy of International Business (AIB). He is also a member of the Academy of Great Montrealers since 2005. He received a doctorate honoris causa from Laval University in 2006 and in 2008 from the University of Montreal. He was named Officer of The National Order of Quebec in 2009. In 2012, he received a doctorate honoris causa from McGill University and was named a member of the Principal's International Advisory Board of McGill University.