Canadian national born in 1954, Paul Desmarais, Jr. is a Member of the Board of Directors and of the Nomination, Compensation & Governance Committee of LafargeHolcim Ltd. He was elected to the Board of Directors of LafargeHolcim in 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University, Montréal, Canada, and an MBA from the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD), Paris, France.
He was a Member of the Board of Directors of Lafarge S.A. from 2008 to 2015 and was also a Member of its Strategy, Investment and Sustainable Development Committee until 2015. Paul Desmarais, Jr. is Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation of Canada and Executive Co-Chairman of Power Financial Corporation, both located in Montréal, Canada.
He joined Power Corporation in 1981 and assumed the position of Vice-President the following year. In 1984, he led the creation of Power Financial to consolidate Power Corporation’s major financial holdings, as well as Pargesa Holding SA, Geneva, Switzerland, under a single corporate entity. Paul Desmarais, Jr. served as Vice-President of Power Financial from 1984 to 1986, as President and Chief Operating Officer from 1986 to 1989, as Executive Vice-Chairman from 1989 to 1990, as Executive Chairman from 1990 to 2005, as Chairman of the Executive Committee from 2006 to 2008 and as Executive Co-Chairman from 2008 until today. He also served as Vice-Chairman of Power Corporation from 1991 to 1996.
He was named Chairman and Co-CEO of Power Corporation in 1996. From 1982 to 1990, he was a Member of the Management Committee of Pargesa Holding SA and in 1991, Executive Vice Chairman and then Executive Chairman of the Management Committee. In 2003, he was appointed Co-Chief Executive Officer and in 2013 named Chairman of the Board.
His other mandates include sitting on the Board of Directors of several Power group companies, including Power Corporation of Canada, Power Financial Corporation, Great-West Lifeco Inc., Winnipeg, Canada, and its major subsidiaries, IGM Financial Inc., Winnipeg, Canada, and its major subsidiaries, and several companies within the Pargesa Group, including Pargesa Holding SA, Geneva, Switzerland, Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, Brussels, Belgium, and SGS SA, Geneva, Switzerland.