Quebecor Inc. has no qualms over controlling shareholder Pierre Karl Péladeau’s decision to enter politics, says the company’s new chief executive Pierre Dion.
“Mr. Péladeau’s decision is a personal decision. We respect his choice,” Mr. Dion said after the company’s annual meeting Thursday.
“Mr. Péladeau has left a good heritage with a lot of talented people,” he added.
The son of Quebecor founder Pierre Péladeau is not involved in any operating or strategic decisions, said Mr. Dion. But asked if Mr. Péladeau has put his Quebecor holdings in a blind trust, as he said he would when he entered politics, Mr. Dion replied: “I don’t think so.”
Mr. Péladeau, who was elected to Quebec’s National Assembly in April, is considered the front-runner in the race to take over the leadership of the Parti Québécois, which lost power in the election.
Mr. Péladeau’s political career has been viewed as hindering Quebecor’s efforts to expand its cellular business outside Quebec.
Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney has taken on greater responsibility as part of a strategy to distance the company from Mr. Péladeau.
Mr. Mulroney, an ardent federalist, is seen as someone who can help boost Quebecor’s efforts to clinch the conditions it says it needs to launch a national wireless service.
Mr. Mulroney was named chairman of the board in a shareholder vote at the AGM on Thursday.
Mr. Péladeau stepped down as chairman in March, when he announced plans to enter politics.
Quebecor vice-chairman Pierre Laurin said during the meeting’s question period that the decision to recommend Mr. Mulroney as the new chairman is based solely on his skills as a savvy negotiator and not on the fact that he is a federalist.
“There are extremely sensitive, extremely important files and his experience as a negotiator will serve us at the highest level,” he told shareholders.