Of the world’s 2153 billionaires, 41 of them are Canadian, but how many are from Quebec? CEOWORLD magazine has unveiled its annual list of the richest people in Canada. We investigated to find out which ones are from Quebec, including Emanuele Saputo to the essential Jean Coutu.
Emanuele (Lino) Saputo: $5.1 billion
With a fortune estimated at $5.1 billion, Lino Saputo is the richest man in Quebec. The Saputo family made their fortune in cheese, and Lino is no exception. When he arrived in Canada at the age of 15, he quickly noticed that there was no local cheese here. Lino then convinced his father to work for himself and it was thus that in September 1954, Giuseppe, Maria, Lino and his brothers and sisters founded the company which bears their name. The rest is history, and the company has firmly established itself here and has become a major brand in the dairy industry. With $13.5 billion in sales in 2019, Saputo (SAP) has a market valuation of $13.8 billion.
As a side note, the Saputo family owns shares in the Montreal Impact soccer team, hence “Saputo Stadium”, and has an incredible collection of cars.
Alain Bouchard: $4.1 billion
Alain Bouchard, owner of Alimentation Couche-Tard, comes in second, with an estimated fortune of $4.1 billion. The businessman from Chicoutimi started from scratch before creating a convenience store empire. The first Couche-Tard was opened in Laval in 1980, and there are now more than 16,000 around the world. Now 71 years of age, Alain Bouchard still sits as CEO of his company’s board of directors. Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD.B) has a market capitalization of $35.89 billion and achieved sales of $59.1 billion in 2019.
Jean Coutu: $2.5 billion
In 3rd place of the richest people in Quebec we find the very famous Jean Coutu, whose fortune is estimated at $2.5 billion dollars. The 92-year old the pharmacist owes his fortune to his flair. In 1969, Jean Coutu opened Pharm-Escompte, a business that sold medications as well as commonly used products, and took advantage of a legal loophole. At the time, only pharmacies could be open at any time. It is now the largest chain of pharmacies in Quebec, and Pharm-Escompte became Pharmacie Jean Coutu. In 2017, Jean Coutu turned in his white smock and sold his business for $4.5 billion to Quebec-based food giant Metro.
Robert Miller: $2.7 billion
This billionaire made his fortune in the world of electronics. In 1968, he launched his company Future Electronics, and eight years later, bought his partner’s shares for $500,000. His company is now one of the largest electronic components distributors in the world. The Montreal-based company has more than $5 billion in sales each year and has 169 branches in 44 countries. Robert Miller is therefore in 4th position in our ranking with a fortune estimated at $2.7 billion.
Charles Bronfman: $2.3 billion
Although he now lives in New York, Charles Bronfman is considered the 5th richest Quebecer with a fortune estimated at $2.3 billion. In 2000, the businessman became wealthy by selling the family business, Seagram, which specializes in entertainment and producing wine and spirits, for $34 billion. French business group Vivendi bought Seagram, but they kept only the entertainment division, selling the distillery business to Pernod Ricard.
At 88, Charles Bronfman has left his mark on Montreal culture. He was the majority owner of the Montreal Expos major league baseball team from the team’s beginnings in 1968 until its sale in 1990, and was also the owner of the Montreal Concordes football team.
Serge Godin: $2.3 billion
In 6th position we find Serge Godin, with a fortune estimated at $2.3 billion. He is a Laval University graduate and currently chairman of the board of directors of CGI, a Montreal multinational specializing in information technology consulting. Like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, Serge Godin founded his company in the basement of his Quebec City home at the young age of 26. As of 2019, CGI and its subsidiaries employ more than 77,000 professionals and have sales of $11.5 billion. CGI (GIB.A) is also listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, with a market valuation of $20.4 billion. During his career to date, Serge Godin has made more than 70 acquisitions.
Jacques D’Amours: $2.1 billion
Couche-Tard «is not the story of Alain Bouchard, but the story of those who built it», said the king of the convenience stores. Jacques d´Amours is one Couche-Tard founder Alain Bouchard’s early partners. He retired as Vice President in 2014, but still sits on the company’s board of directors and remains the company’s second largest shareholder. With a fortune estimated at $2.1 billion, Jacques d’Amours is the 7th richest person in Quebec.
Pierre Karl Péladeau: $1.8 billion
With a fortune estimated at $1.8 billion dollars, Pierre Karl Péladeau is the youngest billionaire in the ranking. He is the son of Quebecor founder Pierre Péladeau, and took over managing the company in 1999, two years after his father’s death. In 2019 the company was among Quebec’s 15 largest companies, with 9,900 employees, and owned subsidiaries such as the TVA Group and numerous newspapers such as Le Journal de Montréal. Quebecor (QBR.B) has a market valuation of 7.7 billion.
The businessman is also involved in politics, and served as the member for the riding of Saint-Jérôme before becoming leader of the Parti Québécois.
Marcel Adams: $1.7 billion
Marcel Abramovich, who later changed his last name to Adams, was born to a Jewish family in Romania in 1920. During World War II, he managed to escape from a Nazi labour camp. In 1951, he immigrated to Canada where he worked in a Quebec tannery. He began investing in real estate in 1955 and made a 77% profit on his first building. In 1958, he founded his real estate business, Les Developements Iberville, and in 1959 he opened his first shopping centre. The company’s head office is located in Montreal, and now owns and manages over a hundred buildings in Canada, Texas and Florida.
Stephen Jarislowsky: $1.6 billion
In 10th place of the richest people in Quebec, we find Stephen Jarislowsky. Born to Jewish parents, he left Nazi Germany for the Netherlands, then France, before emigrating to the United States, where he served in the armed forces. In the 1950s he moved to Montreal and founded Jarislowsky Fraser, an investment management company. He remained CEO until 2012, and thereafter served on the board of directors. In 2018, Scotiabank became the proud owner of Jarislowsky Fraser in a transaction valued at $950 million.
Although not active in politics, Mr. Jarislowsky is known to have opposed Quebec nationalism. At the age of 94, Jarislowsky’s fortune is estimated at $1.6 billion, but above all he boasts a very impressive resume. From providing counterintelligence services in Japan to administrating nearly 30 companies and earning a Harvard degree, this businessman speaks five languages and has a collection of honorary doctorates.
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