Mr. Desmarais has been Senior Vice-President of Power Corporation since 2017. He acts as the Chairman and CEO of Sagard Holdings, the Executive Chairman and co-founder of Portag3 Ventures, and the Chairman and co-founder of Diagram. Within the investment portfolios of Portag3 Ventures and Sagard Holdings, he is the Chairman of Wealthsimple and Dialogue, and a director of Koho and Grayhawk Investment Strategies. He currently sits on the boards of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert and Imerys. He is an observer on the board of directors of Nesto. Previously, he served on the boards of Canada Life, IG Wealth Management and Mackenzie. From 2017 to 2020, he was Senior Vice-President at Power Financial. He was also a member of the board of Pargesa until November 2020, when Pargesa’s reorganization was completed.
Before joining Power as Vice-President in May 2014, he was Assistant Vice-President in the Risk Management Group of Great-West Lifeco beginning in 2012. Previously, he worked in supply chain management and corporate strategy at Imerys in France. He began his career in 2004, working for five years with Goldman Sachs in the United States, in the Investment Banking and Investment Strategy Groups, as well as in the Special Situations Group.
Mr. Desmarais is the Founder and Honorary Chairman of Young Canadians in Finance, which provides young professionals working in the private and public financial sectors an exclusive network that enables them to assume leading roles in this field. He now sits on the board of Alpine Canada and the Glenbow Museum. He sits on the board of the BlackNorth Initiative, a program created by a coalition of Canadian business leaders to fight anti-Black systemic racism in Corporate Canada. He also co-founded the Black Wealth Club. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Endeavor Canada, the world’s leading community of high-impact entrepreneurs. In addition, after sitting on the Board of Directors of Next Canada, an organization that fast tracks the development of Canada’s most talented young innovators, turning them into the country’s outstanding future business leaders and innovators, he now chairs the Next Canada Emeritus Board of Advisors. Previously, Mr. Desmarais served as Co-Chair of the True Patriot Love 2014 Arctic Expedition to the Magnetic North Pole and as Chair of the Kenojuak Cultural Centre and Print Shop campaign. He received the Business for the Arts Arnold Edinborough Award for this work. In 2000, he was awarded the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (Gold Level).
Mr. Desmarais is the recipient of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Harvard College (graduating cum laude) and he holds a Master in Business Administration from INSEAD in France.
In 2017, Mr. Desmarais was named one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40.