Sudbury native built Power Corp. into a financial empire with assets under management of more than $500-billion
Paul Desmarais, left, is pictured in 2009 at the annual meeting for Power Corp. of Canada. Mr. Desmarais died Oct. 9, 2013, at the age of 86, surrounded by his family at his estate in the Charlevoix region of Quebec.
(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)
Mr. Desmarais was the chairman of the executive committee of Power Corp., one of Canada's biggest financial conglomerates. He turned a bankrupt Sudbury bus company into the industrial, financial and communications empire.
Paul Desmarais, centre, is pictured with his sons, Paul Desmarais Jr., left, and Andre Desmarais, in 2006. Mr. Desmarais Sr. handed over the daily management of Power Corp. to his sons in the mid-1990s.
Paul Desmarais, left, is pictured with former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney in Montreal in 2003. Desmarais was a quiet force in Canadian politics and engaged leaders of all political stripes, from Mr. Mulroney to Jean Chrétien.
Mr. Desmarais, left, grew up in Sudbury, Ont., one of eight children. He grew up bilingual, speaking French at home and English in the community. His upbringing served him well, as he was able to move easily between both corporate worlds.
Chinese vice-president Rong Yiren, left, meets Mr. Desmarais in 1993 as Mr. Mulroney looks on. Mr. Desmarais helped Pierre Trudeau open up relations with China by heading up the Canada China Business Council in the 1970s.
Mr. Desmarais attended the University of Ottawa, earning a B.A. in commerce in 1949. After graduating, he entered Osgoode Hall Law School, but left after two years.
Mr. Desmarais is survived by his two sons and two daughters, and several grandchildren. In September he celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary with his wife Jacqueline Maranger.