Paul Desmarais III

Chairman and CEO, Sagard Holdings | Executive Chairman, Partag3 Ventures

Role: Fellow

Site: CDL-Montreal

Stream: Web3

Paul Desmarais III is the Chairman and CEO of Sagard, an alternative asset management platform active in venture capital, private equity, private credit, healthcare royalties and private wealth.

Paul took the helm of Sagard in 2016, along with a handful of close partners bound by a common vision: partnering with entrepreneurs to catalyze transformation in our investments and communities. In five years, Sagard has experienced outstanding growth, with assets under management increasing ninefold to almost $14B, more than 250 professionals joining its ranks, and over 80 companies added to the portfolio.

Sagard has built a global network of expertise that helps companies lead, embrace, and stay ahead of disruptive trends in the financial services, technology, and healthcare spaces, amongst others. The team is behind some of the largest technology success stories in Canada such as Wealthsimple and Dialogue.

Within the Sagard ecosystem, Paul is the Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Portage Ventures and the Chairman and Co-Founder of Diagram. Within the investment portfolios, he is the Chairman of Wealthsimple and Dialogue, Grayhawk and Nesto.

Paul is dedicated to helping build a better business world. He is Co-Founder of the Black Wealth Club, where emerging Black leaders go to learn about creating wealth and reinvesting it in their communities. Under Paul’s leadership, Sagard has committed to a more sustainable financial system by becoming a signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, enlisting as a CREO participant, and embarking on its journey to carbon neutrality. Paul will also co-chair the Centraide (United Way) campaign in 2022.

Paul is a board member of the Glenbow Museum and Alpine Canada and serves as Chair to the Next Canada Emeritus board of advisors. He is a recipient of the Duke of Edinborough Award for his work chairing the fundraising campaign for the Kenojuak Culture Center. He was formerly a board member of the Rideau Hall Foundation. Paul also co-founded Young Canadians in Finance and co-chaired the True Patriot Love Expedition to the magnetic North Pole.

Prior to his current role, Paul worked at Goldman Sachs in the Investment Banking Division, Investment Strategy Group and Special Situations Group, Imerys S.A. in supply chain management and strategy and Great West Lifeco Inc. in risk management. He has earned a B.A. in Economics from Harvard College and holds an MBA from INSEAD.