Honorary degree citation - Charles Albert Poissant*
By: Mohsen Anvari, June 1999
Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Charles-Albert Poissant, Chairman of the Board of Donohue Inc., and Quebecor.
Mr. Poissant was born in Montreal in 1925. He was educated at l'École des Hautes Études Commerciales, which is affiliated with l'Université de Montréal, and in 1953 joined the Order of Chartered Accountants.
He spent 40 years with Poissant Thibault-Peat Marwick Thorne, now known as KPMG, quickly rising through the ranks to the level of partner and then president, and in the process, established a reputation as an expert in tax legislation. A highly sought-after financial consultant, he co-founded the Canadian chapter of the International Fiscal Association (IFA) with Philip Vineberg and Howard Stikeman.
At the same time as he was building his career and reputation as a financial consultant, he became involved in another business venture that shaped his professional future and, in fact, shaped the face of Quebec society. In the early 1950s, he teamed up with another young entrepreneur, Pierre Péladeau. Together they built the Quebecor publishing empire, which today employs 44,000 people.
In 1987, Mr. Poissant left KPMG, and accepted the position of Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Donohue Inc., an integrated Canadian forest products company that manufactures newsprint, wood products and market pulp.
Under his leadership, Donohue Inc. underwent an expansion, acquiring saw, pulp and newsprint mills, and for the first time branching out into the American market. At present, Donahue is the second largest producer of newsprint in North America.
Two years ago, Mr. Poissant was presented with yet another challenge when he accepted the Chairmanship of Quebecor Inc. In this capacity, he oversees an integrated group of companies, solidly established on four continents and pursuing a global strategy.
Despite the demands placed on him by his career, Charles-Albert Poissant has found time to serve on the boards of the Fondation de l'Université du Québec à Montréal, the Fondation de l'Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal and l'Hôpital du Saint Sacrement de Québec. He is also on the Board of the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association.
He is a member of the C.D. Howe Institute, the Canadian Tax Foundation and the Conference Board of Canada. He was a member of the Bélanger-Campeau Commission on the political and constitutional future of Quebec, and was. financial advisor to the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.
In 1997, Mr. Poissant was recognized for his contribution to Canadian society as a business leader and a humanitarian by being made a Member of the Order of Canada. His peers also honoured him by naming him a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, of which he has been a past president.
He is also the published author of four books, one of which, How to Think Like a Millionaire, was translated into nine languages.
Mr. Chancellor, it is my privilege and an honour to present to you, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, Charles-Albert Poissant, so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.