Paul Desmarais Jr.
Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Born on May 8th, 1950, in Tampico, Mexico, Angel Gurría came to the OECD following a distinguished career in public service, including two ministerial posts.
As Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from December 1994 to January 1998, he made dialogue and consensus-building one of the hallmarks of his approach to global issues. From January 1998 to December 2000, he was Mexico’s Minister of Finance and Public Credit. For the first time in a generation, he steered Mexico’s economy through a change of Administration without a recurrence of the financial crises that had previously dogged such changes.
Paul Desmarais Jr.
Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Power Corporation of Canada; and Co-Chair, Board of Governors
Mr. Desmarais is Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation and Executive Co-Chairman of Power Financial. He joined Power in 1981 and assumed the position of Vice-President the following year. In 1984, he led the creation of Power Financial to consolidate Power’s major financial holdings, as well as Pargesa Holding SA, under a single corporate entity. Mr. Desmarais 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.
After Power Financial and the Frère Group of Belgium took control of Pargesa in 1990, Mr. Desmarais moved to Europe from 1991 to 1994, to develop the partnership with the Frère Group and to restructure the Pargesa group. From 1982 to 1990, he was a member of the Management Committee of Pargesa, in 1991, Executive Vice-Chairman and then Executive Chairman of the Committee; in 2003, he was appointed Co-Chief Executive Officer and in 2013 named Chairman of the Board. He has been a Director of Pargesa since 1992.
He is a director of many Power group companies in North America, including Power Financial, Great-West Lifeco, Great-West Life, Great-West Life & Annuity, London Life, Canada Life Financial, Canada Life, Putnam Investments, IGM Financial, Investors Group and Mackenzie. In Europe, he is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, and a director of Total, Lafarge and SGS.
Mr. Desmarais is Chairman of the Board of Governors of The International Economic Forum of the Americas (Canada), a Trustee of The Brookings Institution, a Co-Chair of the Brookings International Advisory Council and a member of the Brookings Executive Committee (Washington), a member of The Business Council (United States) and Chairman of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. He is also active on a number of philanthropic advisory councils.
In 1994, he received the Insigne d’Officier de l’Ordre de la Couronne of Belgium. In 2005, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada and he received the Executive of the Year Award from the Academy of International Business. In 2009, he was named an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec and in 2012, Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in France. He holds a number of honorary doctorates.
He obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University and a MBA from the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD), France.
Chairman of the Board, ENGIE; and Co-Chair, Board of Governors
Gérard Mestrallet is a graduate of the French engineering school, École Polytechnique, and of École Nationale d’Administration. Having held various positions at the Treasury Department and on the staff of the Minister of Economy and Finance (Jacques Delors), Gérard Mestrallet joined Compagnie Financière de SUEZ in 1984. In 1986 he was appointed Senior Executive Vice-President in charge of industrial affairs. In 1991 he was named Chairman of the Management Committee of Société Générale de Belgique. In 1995, he became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Compagnie de SUEZ. Gérard Mestrallet was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GDF SUEZ (now ENGIE) when SUEZ merged with Gaz de France on July 2008. Since May 3 2016, he is Chairman of the Board of ENGIE and Chairman of the Board of SUEZ.