André Desmarais

André Desmarais OC OQ (born October 26, 1956) is a Canadian businessman based in Montreal, Quebec.

André Desmarais

Born (1956-10-26) October 26, 1956 (age 64)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Alma materConcordia University
(m. 1981)
Children4 including Olivier Desmarais
Parent(s)Paul Desmarais Sr.
Jacqueline Maranger
RelativesPaul Desmarais Jr. (brother)

Early lifeEdit

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.[1] Desmarais is a graduate of Concordia University in Montreal (BComm 78, LLD 07).[2]


André Desmarais is currently Deputy Chairman of the company his father took control of in 1968, Power Corporation, based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is also Deputy Chairman of Power Financial. Power Corporation is an international management and holding company that focuses on financial services in North America, Europe and Asia. Its core holdings are leading insurance, retirement, wealth management and investment businesses, including a portfolio of alternative asset investment platforms. Through its European-based affiliate, the Pargesa group, it also has significant holdings in a portfolio of global companies based in Europe.

Desmarais began his career at Campeau Corporation in 1979. From 1980 to 1981, he was Special Assistant to the Minister of Justice of Canada. Between 1981 and 1982, he was an institutional investment counsellor at Richardson Greenshields Ltd. 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 Executive Co-Chairman of Power Financial Corporation.

In 2020, after 24 years as Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation, Desmarais retired from this role. He continues to play an active role in the governance of Power Corporation and maintains his position as Deputy Chairman of the Board.[3]

Board membershipsEdit

  • Deputy Chairman: Power Corporation and Power Financial
  • Great-West Lifeco Inc.
  • Canada Life
  • Empower Retirement
  • Putnam Investments
  • IGM Financial Inc.
  • IG Wealth Management
  • Mackenzie
  • Vice-Chairman: Pargesa Holding SA

Professional membershipsEdit

  • Honorary Chairman of the Canada China Business Council[4][5]
  • Member of The Trilateral Commission
  • Member of the Chairman's International Advisory Council of the Americas Society
  • Member of several China-based organizations

Past engagementsEdit

Member of the Hong Kong Chief Executive's Council of International Advisers from 1998 to 2007.[6]

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


- 2003: Named an officer of the Order of Canada

- 2009: Made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec

- Doctorate honoris causa from Concordia University,[7] Université de Montréal and McGill University

- President of the honorary members - Lieutenant-colonel of the Voltigeurs de Québec.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

He married France Chrétien Desmarais, the daughter of former Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chrétien, on May 23, 1981.[9] They have four children.

In August 2016, The Wall Street Journal mentions that André Desmarais and his brother Paul Jr. "are readying their 34-year-old sons (Olivier Desmarais and Paul Desmarais III) to take over Power Corp".[10]


Desmarais has played key roles in a number of fundraising campaigns, including those of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Montreal Heart Institute, the Montreal General Hospital, Leucan, the Canadian Red Cross, the Canadian Cancer Society (The Daffodil Ball), Centraide of Greater Montreal and the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation.[11]

In November 2015, André Desmarais and his wife donated 3 million Canadian dollars to the Montreal Heart Institute.[12]

Desmarais is also Chairman of the Foundation Baxter & Alma Ricard.[13]


  1. ^ Selwyn House School Yearbook 1973
  2. ^ "André Desmarais". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Canada China Business Council – Andre Desmarais, O.C." Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  5. ^ "Members – Business Council of Canada". Business Council of Canada. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "André Desmarais". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Das, Anupreeta; Mackrael, Kim (2016-08-22). "Canada's Desmarais Clan: A New Generation Takes Control". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Gouvernance – Fondation Ricard". Retrieved 2017-09-06.