O.C., O.Q., MBA
Born in Sudbury, Ontario in 1954, Paul Desmarais, Jr. obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University and an MBA from the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD), France.
Mr. Desmarais has been Chairman of Power Corporation since 1996. He also served as Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation from 1996 until his retirement in February 2020, previously having assumed various positions since he joined Power Corporation in 1981. He is Chairman of Power Financial and also served as Executive Co-Chairman of from 2015 to March 2020, Co-Chairman from 2008 to 2015 and Executive Chairman from 1990 to 2005.
Mr. Desmarais was Chairman of the Board of Pargesa from 2013 until November 2020, when Pargesa’s reorganization was completed. He was a director of Pargesa from 1992 until 2020. Prior to joining Power Corporation, he was with S.G. Warburg & Co. in London, England, and with Standard Brands Incorporated in New York.
He is a Director and member of various Board Committees of many Power group companies including Great-West Lifeco Inc. and its major subsidiaries, and IGM Financial Inc. and its major subsidiaries. He is also Chairman of the Board of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert and a Director of SGS SA. He was a Director of LafargeHolcim from 2008 to 2020, of Total SA from 2002 to 2017, of GDF Suez from 2001 to 2014, and of Imerys S.A. from 1998 to 2008.
Mr. Desmarais is active on a number of philanthropic advisory councils.
He received the Insigne d’Officier de l’Ordre de la Couronne of Belgium in 1994. In 2005, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, and an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec in 2009. In 2012, he was named Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in France.