Born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1956, Mr. André Desmarais obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Concordia University.
Mr. Desmarais began his career at Campeau Corporation in 1979 as Development Officer. From 1980 to 1981, he was Press Secretary and Special Assistant to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General 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 Institutional Salesman, Options, at Richardson Greenshields of Canada in Toronto.
In 1983, Mr. Desmarais returned to Power Corporation of Canada and, in 1991, was named President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Desmarais is Deputy Chairman of Power Corporation, a position he has held since 1996. He previously served as President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation from 1996 until his retirement in February 2020. He was also Executive Co-Chairman of Power Financial from 2008 until 2020.
He also serves as Deputy Chairman of Power Financial and is a director of many Power Corporation group companies, including Great-West Lifeco, Canada Life, Empower Retirement, Putnam Investments, IGM Financial, IG Wealth Management, Mackenzie and Power Sustainable Capital. He was a director and Vice-Chairman of Pargesa in Europe until November 2020, when Pargesa’s reorganization was completed.
In addition, Mr. Desmarais is Honorary Chairman of the Canada China Business Council; Senior Advisor to the International Advisory Council of China Association for the Promotion of Industrial Development; Member of the Trilateral Commission; Member of the Chairman’s International Advisory Council of the Americas Society; Member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and Member of various foundations.
He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and of the National Order of Québec and has received doctorates Honoris Causa from Concordia University, the University of Montreal and McGill University.