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Canadiens' Pierre Boivin joins Claridge Add to ...

Montreal Canadiens president Pierre Boivin is leaving the organization to join the investment firm headed up by Stephen Bronfman.

Mr. Boivin has been appointed president and chief executive officer of Montreal-based Claridge Inc., Mr. Bronfman said in a news release Friday morning.

Mr. Bronfman, a grandson of Seagram whisky empire founder Samuel Bronfman, will step down from his current position as president and CEO of Claridge to become chairman of the company.

It was announced last summer that Mr. Boivin would be leaving his position with the Canadiens some time this year.

There had been speculation that he would be ousted after last year's acquisition of the team by an investment group headed by Andrew Molson and his two brothers - Geoffrey and Justin.

Mr. Bronfman said Friday that Mr. Boivin will help shape a strategy at Claridge of "major worldwide investments, with a focus on Quebec and Canada."

"In other words, we want to position Claridge as a significant player in the mid-market private equity sector in North America."

Claridge was founded in 1987 by Mr. Bronfman's father, Charles Bronfman.

Mr. Bronfman said in an interview Friday that he had always been impressed with the Montreal Canadiens' management team headed by Mr. Boivin.

In fact, he was one of the bidders for the Canadiens last year who were beat out by the Molsons.

Mr. Boivin will help take Claridge to the "next level as a strong force in the mid-market private equity world," said Mr. Bronfman.

Mr. Boivin said he has been involved - "in a very small way" - in private equity as an investor, adviser and board member.

"It's an area I've always been very interested in.

"I met with a number of mid-market firms in the U.S. and Canada and decided I wanted to stay in Montreal, and Claridge presents an opportunity to do something, not necessarily Quebec-centric, but Quebec-based and North American and global in scope," he said.

Mr. Bronfman is also committed to Montreal, both in business and in charitable work.

Areas of investment for Claridge have included high-end organic foods, residential real estate and entertainment through a partnership with Toronto concert promoter Michael Cohl.

Mr. Boivin says he has no regrets leaving the Canadiens after 12 years as president, except perhaps not having won a Stanley Cup ring. The storied Habs last won the cup in 1993.

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