André Desmarais

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André Desmarais
Born (1956-10-26) October 26, 1956 (age 58)
Ottawa, Ontario
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Businessman

André Desmarais, OC, OQ, BA, LLD (born October 26, 1956, in Ottawa, Ontario) is a Canadian businessman, whose hometown is Montreal, Quebec.

Early life[edit]

He is one of two sons of Paul Desmarais, Sr. and Jacqueline (Maranger) Desmarais. Born in Ottawa, Ontario, he attended Lakefield College School in Ontario for two years, then Selwyn House School and later obtained a Bachelor of Commerce from Concordia University, both of which are located in Montreal.[1]


André Desmarais is currently Deputy Chairman, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of the company his father took control of in 1968, Power Corporation, based in Montreal, Canada. He is also Executive Co-Chairman of Power Financial. Power Corporation is a diversified management and holding company, which has holdings in leading financial services and the communications sector. Through its European-based affiliate Pargesa group, Power Corporation holds significant positions in major media, energy, water, waste services, and specialty minerals companies. Power Corporation also has diversified interests in Asia.

Desmarais began his career at Campeau Corporation in 1979. From 1980 to 1981, he was Special Assistant to the Minister of Justice of Canada. He was Executive Assistant to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation of Canada between 1981 and 1982, at which time he became an institutional investment counsellor at Richardson Greenshields of Canada. In 1983, Desmarais returned to Power Corporation of Canada. In 1984, he was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of Gesca Ltée and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Power Broadcasting Inc., in 1988. In 1991, he became President and Chief Operating Officer of Power Corporation of Canada. In 1994, he was named Chairman of Power Pacific Corporation Limited; Director and Member of the Executive Committee of Power Corporation of Canada and Power Financial Corporation. In 1996, Desmarais was appointed President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation of Canada and Deputy Chairman of Power Financial Corporation. In May 2008, he was also appointed Deputy Chairman of Power Corporation of Canada and became Co-Chairman of Power Financial Corporation.

Board Memberships[edit]

- Great-West Lifeco Inc. and its major subsidiaries

- IGM Financial Inc. and its major subsidiaries

- Pargesa Holding SA

- Square Victoria Communications Group Inc., Gesca Ltée, La Presse, Ltée.

Professional Memberships[edit]

- Appointed as a member of the Hong Kong Chief Executive's Council of International Advisers in 1998 until 2007[2]

- Appointed in 2003 to the International Council of the JP Morgan Chase Bank until 2010

- On the Board of Directors of the Canadian International Council

- Member of The Trilateral Commission

- Member of the Chairman’s Council of the Americas Society


- 2003: Named an officer of the Order of Canada

- 2005: Made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec

- Doctorate honoris causa from Concordia University, Université de Montréal and McGill University

Personal life[edit]

He is married to France Chrétien Desmarais, the daughter of former Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chrétien. They have four children.


Desmarais has played key roles in a number of fundraising campaigns, including those of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Montreal Heart Institute, Leucan, the Canadian Red Cross, the Canadian Cancer Society (The Daffodil Ball), and Centraide of Greater Montreal.[3]