We understand better why Jean Charest decided not to run for leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. In addition to the reasons he himself mentioned, McCarthy Tétrault’s partner is doing big business, especially in Paris where he spends almost a week a month.
To participate in board meetings, but also to carry out discreet mandates of “strategic advice” for, among others, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, which instructed him to put in place a plan to ensure the long-term growth of this economic pole.
One thing is certain, he has little time to play tourist in Paris. At least once a month, he visits the head office of Publicis Groupe, the third largest communications agency in the world, which posted revenues of € 8.9 billion in its last financial year.
He sits on the firm’s supervisory board, is a member of its nomination committee and above all, he chairs the audit committee. As such, he oversees the quality of internal financial controls and risk management. The combination of these functions secured him attendance fees of 80,000 euros ($ 116,800) in 2018. Over the years, he has also acquired 1,400 Publicis shares which are now worth $ 60,600.
But the real value of these functions is not only monetary. His presence on the Publicis board puts him in contact with key players in Europe and North America. On the nomination committee, he sits in the company ofElisabeth Badinter. The latter is not only the largest shareholder of Publicis, having inherited a block of shares worth more than $ 1.5 billion, but she is also a high-flying intellectual who has her access to the best salons of the hexagon.
On the board of Publicis, he also meets Marie-Josée Kravis. The Montreal-born economist is now the wife ofHenry Kravis, a New York financier who amassed a fortune valued at US $ 5.5 billion with his eponymous private equity firm, which unsuccessfully attempted in 2007 to get hold of BCE.
At the same meeting he can also discuss with Cherie Nursalim, the vice-president of the board of GITI-GROUP, a Singapore company that controls GITI-TIRE which employs 33,000 people in its Chinese factories.
These entries and contacts strengthen the position of rainmaker McCarthy’s lawyer who began his practice in criminal law in Sherbrooke and whose book of business yearly now exceeds two million dollars according to informed observers of the legal community.
The most fish-rich waters in the world …
Jean Charest’s other base in Paris is Tikehau Capital, which specializes in alternative investments.
The firm, founded in 2004, has carved out an enviable place for itself in the highly competitive environment of private debt, interim real estate financing and private placements. With assets under management of 24.8 billion euros, Tikehau, which takes its name from a Polynesian atoll reputed to be home to the most fish-rich waters in the world, continues to grow rapidly.
Jean Charest played a strategic role in this adventure. In 2017 and 2018, Me Charest was the pivot in recruiting members of Tikehau’s international advisory board.
To carry out this mandate, which also provides for “support in the international development of the company”, Me Charest received 120,000 euros (30,000 euros per quarter). It should be noted that the regulatory documents note that for this period, the service was provided by Chardi Inc., the management company of Mr. Charest created in 2013 and whose address is his domicile in Westmount.
At Tikehau, the former prime minister can rub shoulders with another former prime minister, Francois Fillon, defeated right-wing candidate in the last French presidential election and Enrico Letta who was Prime Minister of Italy in 2013 and 2014.
Tikehau has great ambitions in Europe and also in North America and there is a good chance that Jean Charest will continue to act as a bridge between potential investors and influencers capable of advancing the investment fund’s files.
Mr. Charest’s setbacks with UPAC certainly do not weigh heavily in the balance overseas. In France, the hidden financing of electoral funds is almost a national sport and the investigation of a politician has become almost a necessary step …