Pierre Péladeau was born in Montréal on April 11, 1925. He graduated from McGill University with a law degree and from Université de Montréal with a degree in philosophy.
He was originally tempted by the arts but ultimately decided to go into business and bought the weekly Le Journal de Rosemont in 1950. In 1964, he founded Le Journal de Montréal, laying the foundations for what would eventually become Quebecor, one of the greatest Francophone business success stories in the history of Québec.
In 1965, Pierre Péladeau became the founding President of Quebecor and he remained its Chief Executive Officer until his death on December 24, 1997.
Pierre Péladeau received many honours and distinctions for his life’s work. Among other things, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada, an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec, a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur, and a Companion of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. He was awarded honorary doctorates by Université Laval and Université du Québec, as well as the Université de Montréal’s alumnus award.
A businessman with an open and incisive mind
Pierre Péladeau, a rebel who trusted in his instinct for business more than in grand theories of management, was an exemplar to a generation of Québec entrepreneurs.
The seven quotes below show the stuff of which he was made. They are also seven guiding principles for aspiring entrepreneurs.
1. Keep it simple
“As the Americans say: K.I.S.S. – keep it simple stupid! I go for the essential. The larger a company gets, the more important it is to stay nimble and be able to adapt to circumstances without skipping a beat.”
2. Be creative: think like an artist
“You won’t find the solution to a problem in any rigid rules. You have to look to your imagination.”
3. Know how to sell
“To sell, you have to listen. Shut up, stop running down the competition and listen to what the customer is telling you.”
4. Stay the course
“You get on a plane because you want to go to a specific destination. In business, if you don’t have a plan, you’re liable to end up losing your way.”
5. Aim high
“Don’t be satisfied with what you’ve achieved. Strive for what remains to be accomplished. You have to get up every morning with new goals and think big.”
6. Take risks
“The worst defeat isn’t losing a fight, or two or three, but backing away from the challenge out of fear, or softness, or sheer laziness.”
7. Act like a winner
“Imagination, team spirit, an open door, self-confidence, loyalty plus guts: those are the key ingredients of success. Everything else is a bonus. But with a good nose, you can go far.”
Patron of the arts
Nothing made Pierre Péladeau happier than sharing his success with others. He was always ready and eager to devote time and money to the causes he cared about.
His love of music and immense respect for musicians drove him to become a major patron of the arts in Québec. Among other things, he actively supported the Orchestre métropolitain du Grand Montréal, funded construction of the concert hall that bears his name at Université du Québec à Montréal, and founded the Pavillon des Arts de Ste-Adèle, which has introduced many musicians to the general public.
Pierre Péladeau also had a keen social conscience, He was very active in helping the most deprived members of society and giving hope to people during the darkest periods of their lives. In addition to supporting major fundraising drives by Montréal hospitals, he financed the drug and alcohol treatment centres now known as Maison Raymonde-Chopin-Péladeau and Pavillon Pierre-Péladeau.
Pierre Péladeau’s hundreds of philanthropic endeavours show he had the mind of a great builder in life as in business.