Le Lézard
Classified in: Business
Subject: PER

Desjardins Group: more relevant than ever in people's life

Guy Cormier delivered a hopeful message to young people.
Important decisions were made on the governance model for the leadership of Desjardins Group.

MONTREAL, March 25, 2023 /CNW/ - During his closing speech at the Desjardins Group annual general meeting (AGM) on Saturday, President and CEO Guy Cormier reaffirmed that the cooperative model is more relevant than ever. Knowing the economy is currently a concern for many people, Desjardins has reached out to 60,000 of its most vulnerable members and clients to offer advice on steps they can take to improve their situation.

"We've gone from a health crisis straight into a cost-of-living crisis. A crisis is intense. It's destabilizing. It causes anxiety. And that's what many people are feeling right now," said Guy Cormier. "But a crisis is also a moment. There's a before, and an after. Economists at Desjardins are telling us that the significant pressure Canadian households are feeling will remain through 2023. But that things will begin to reverse trend in 2024."

Guy Cormier also talked about the opportunities he's had to meet with young people, which he described as some of the most rewarding experiences he's had in the past several years. Mr. Cormier also reminded everyone about Dream the Impossible, a major youth event taking place in Montreal on June 19 and 20, 2023. Admission is free for youth ages 18?30 from across Canada. Full event details are available at www.dreamtheimpossible.ca.

Changes to the governance model for Desjardins leadership

At the AGM in Quebec City on March 24 and 25, approximately 1,100 delegates from Desjardins caisses in Quebec and Desjardins Ontario Credit Union made a major decision for the future of Desjardins Group. They voted in favour of changes to the governance model for Desjardins Group's leadership roles.

When the current president's term ends at the AGM in March 2024, the role of chair of the board will be separated from the role of president and chief executive officer, a split that reflects best practices for sound governance.

Over the years, Desjardins has seen strong growth. In 2023, its assets totalled $407 billion, an increase of more than $200 billion in 10 years. The organization has even been designated a systemically important financial institution. But the challenges it faces have become increasingly complex. The needs of Desjardins members and clients have evolved, and the organization has responded by expanding its lineup of products and services and adding distribution channels. Legal and regulatory requirements have also intensified. The changes have steadily increased the demands on the president and CEO. The organization has recognized the benefits of freeing up the president and CEO from the additional duties of chair of the board.

A mission that reflects Desjardins's commitment to supporting its members and clients

Delegates also voted to update Desjardins Group's mission, which now reads as follows: As a cooperative financial group contributing to the development of communities, we give our members and clients the support they need to be financially empowered.

This statement is a simple and concise expression of Desjardins Group's purpose.

New members on the Board of Directors and Board of Ethics and Professional Conduct

The Desjardins Group Board of Directors has some new members. The board includes 12 elected members from the caisse network and six members from outside the caisse network, chosen for their complementary skills and diverse backgrounds.

Lisa Baillargeon re-elected to the Board of Directors
Lisa Baillargeon is the director of the Institut du patrimoine and a full professor. She has extensive experience in accounting and management and an impressive academic background. She has a PhD in economic history and an MBA. She also holds designations as a chartered professional accountant (CPA) and corporate director (ICD.D).

Francine Côté elected to the Board of Directors
In 2016, Francine Côté was elected to an Ontario caisse board of directors. In 2022, she was appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of Caisse Desjardins Ontario Credit Union Inc. Francine is a chartered professional account (CPA) and an ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). In June 2022, she earned her Chartered Director (C.Dir.) designation. 

Jean-François Laporte elected to the Board of Directors
Jean-François Laporte has been involved with Desjardins Group for more than 20 years. He sat on the Federation's board of directors and Audit and Inspection Commission from 2017 to 2021. He also chaired the Risk Management Commission from 2018 to 2019 and the Board of Directors of Desjardins General Insurance Group from 2019 to 2021.

At the meeting, two new co-opted members were also announced:

Luc Bachand once again co-opted to the Board of Directors
Luc Bachand has a Bachelor of Business Administration from HEC Montréal and an MBA from Concordia University. He also has his corporate director (ICD.D) designation and is a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers (FICB). He has extensive experience and expertise as a board member.

Élaine Lajeunesse co-opted to the Board of Directors
Élaine Lajeunesse has been an actuary for more than 20 years. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (FACS), Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA) and a certified corporate director (ICD.D). She worked in consulting for 8 years and spent 10 years as a chief risk officer for major Canadian financial institutions. She has extensive experience in the insurance industry.

Katia Cyr elected to the Board of Ethics and Professional Conduct
Katia Cyr was re-elected to the Federation's Board of Ethics and Professional Conduct. She will continue to apply her experience to the board's evolving work on ethics oversight.

For more information about the members of the Desjardins Group Board of Directors and the Federation's Board of Ethics and Professional Conduct, go to Desjardins.com.

About Desjardins Group

Desjardins Group is the largest cooperative financial group in North America and the fifth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of $407.1 billion. It was named one of the World's Top Female-Friendly Companies by Forbes magazine. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms, and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the world's strongest banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has some of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.

SOURCE Desjardins Group

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