Future manager of the battery sector: The Legault government is looking for a new head of Investissement Québec

While the battery sector is still “very young,” the Legault government is looking for a new head of Investissement Québec (IQ).

• Also read: Battery sector: “It is certain that it represents an economic risk,” acknowledges the CEO of Investissement Québec

• Also read: Investissement Québec: Two executives are leaving the state’s finance department

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IQ CEO Guy LeBlanc’s four-year term expired in April and will not be renewed, Le Journal has learned.

“The law provides […] that the CEO will remain in office until he is reappointed or replaced, a spokeswoman for the state-owned company, Isabelle Fontaine, announced. Guy LeBlanc intends to continue to serve Investissement Québec’s mission and Quebec’s economic development interests until a successor is named.”

Ms. Fontaine would not say whether IQ had used the services of a recruiting firm to find a replacement for Mr. LeBlanc.

“Great rigor”

“The succession process for the position of CEO is very important for the organization and requires great care from the board responsible for it and the government to ensure that the next incumbent has all the necessary skills,” she said. More specific questions about the process can be answered in due course.”

The exact timing of Guy LeBlanc’s departure is not yet known, but according to our information, it is likely to be imminent.

“Mr. LeBlanc is doing remarkable work with Investissement Québec. The government [lui] “We will appoint a successor in due course,” said Mathieu St-Amand, spokesman for Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon.

Internally, many see Bicha Ngo, IQ’s head of private placements, taking control of the state-owned company.

Significantly increased compensation

Guy LeBlanc, a friend of the minister and a former partner at PwC, had agreed to come out of retirement to take over as head of IQ in April 2019. To attract him, Quebec had significantly increased the compensation of IQ’s CEO and other senior executives, which can now exceed $1 million per year.

At the helm of IQ, Mr. LeBlanc would implement the CAQ government’s interventionist program for economic development.

The result: an increase in IQ’s capital by $4 to 5 billion, a merger of part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs with IQ, massive investments in IQ’s computer systems, a significant increase in state aid to companies.

Since 2019, the number of IQ employees has increased from 534 to 1,220. The fees the government pays to IQ for the mandates it entrusts to the state-owned company rose from $36 million to $131 million.

Investments of $15 billion

From the second half of 2020, the battery sector has become one of the priorities of the government and IQ.

In a speech last month in Bécancour, in which he made no mention of his impending departure from IQ, Guy LeBlanc praised the “central role” the state-owned company had played in the development of the “very young battery sector.”

“So far, $15 billion worth of projects have been announced or are about to be announced,” he said, noting that about 20% of those investments were financed by Quebec.

“Ultimately, total investment from private sector and government aid could reach $30 billion in the coming years,” he added.

IQ pulls out the checkbook again to thank a vice president

Investissement Québec has again paid a significant severance payment to a senior executive whose services were no longer required.

After more than 17 years as vice president at IQ, Yves Bourque lost his position as head of risk management in February.

“Mr. Bourque was offered a $204,000 settlement,” said an IQ spokeswoman, Isabelle Fontaine.

Part of his functions have been transferred to Marc Bouchard, who has held the position of Vice President of Risk Management for Corporate Loans and Equity investments since February.

Integrated risk management was entrusted to a newcomer to IQ, David Stréliski, who reported directly to CEO Guy LeBlanc. However, Mr. Stréliski was thrown out again last week. He was entitled to a severance payment, but IQ did not want to provide any information about the amount.

Since Mr. LeBlanc took over at the helm of IQ in 2019, approximately ten vice presidents have left the company for various reasons:

  • Mirabel Paquette, who was fired in June 2019 after four years of service, received a $75,000 severance package.
  • Éric Dequenne left in October 2019 to become deputy minister at the Ministry of International Relations.
  • Paul Buron, who was fired in January 2020, received a $425,000 severance package.
  • Marie-Josée Lapierre, who was fired in November 2020, received $168,000 in severance pay.
  • Iya Touré left the country in December 2020 to become Quebec’s general delegate in Dakar.
  • Tania Tanic, who was fired in May 2021, received $134,000 in severance pay.
  • André St-Pierre, who was fired in October 2021, received a severance payment of $168,000.
  • Alexandre Sieber, who was fired in April 2022, received a severance payment of $379,000.
  • Sylvie Pinsonnault retired in June 2023 after more than 16 years with IQ.
  • Christian Settano resigned from IQ in September 2023 to accept a position at BDC.
  • Jocelyn Beauchesne was thrown out last month for “breaking a government rule.”

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