P.C., C.C., O.Q.
Mr. Desmarais acquired control of Power Corporation in 1968 and is presently Chairman of the Executive Committee. He is also a director of Power Financial and Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of Pargesa Holding, an international investment group based in Switzerland. He is also a director of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert. In addition, Mr. Desmarais serves as Director Emeritus of Great-West Lifeco and of IGM Financial, and holds directorships in Square Victoria Communications Group and La Presse ltée.
Mr. Desmarais is a major contributor towards community services, education, and the arts. In 1986, he founded the Société d’Investissement Jeunesse, an initiative offering financing and technical support for young people starting a business. In the 1990s, he served as Honorary Chair of the University of Ottawa’s $226-million Campaign for Canada’s University fundraising campaign. He is Founding Chairman of the Canada China Business Council.
Mr. Desmarais is a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, a Companion of the Order of Canada, an Officer of the National Order of Québec, a Grand’Croix de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur (France), and a Commandeur de l’Ordre de Léopold II (Belgium). He obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Ottawa, and he holds honorary degrees and distinctions from 13 Canadian universities.