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Michael Sabia will be Hydro-Québec’s new CEO

(Photo: Jerome Lavallee Archives)

Michael Sabella confirmed that Hydro-Québec’s new President and General Manager Business informed source. His appointment could be formalized on Wednesday during the Cabinet session or in the coming days.

He will replace Sophie Brochu, who announced her departure from the presidency of the state-owned company last January. Next September, she will join the board of directors of IT consulting firm CGI.

La Presse reported on Tuesday evening that Michael Sabella, who was appointed on December 14, 2020, Deputy Minister of Canada’s Ministry of Finance, was “the choice of François Legault”.

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In April 2020, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of the Infrastructure Bank of Canada, and Director of the University of Toronto’s Monk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy in February of the same year.

From 2009 to 2020, Michael Sabia led the Caisse de Depot et placement du Québec (CDPQ), a position to which he was appointed in the midst of a storm and during Quebec inc. was hostile to him.

This was in particular because of his Ontario origins (and he spoke English) and because he was not part of the “Quebec Company Gang”, the normal group from which the Quebec government usually drew chiefs of Casey.

When he took office, CDPQ was at the center of the asset-backed commercial paper fiasco that occurred before the 2008 financial crisis. It raised the bar and recouped the $39.8 billion Caisse lost in 2008, in fiscal 2011.

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His accomplishments earned him the respect of the Quebec business community and allayed concerns about him.

says Claude Garcia, former president of Standard Life Quebec and a member of Caisse’s board of directors from 2005 to 2009.

Prior to assuming his position at CDPQ, Mr. Sabia served as CEO of Bell Canada Enterprises and CEO of the Canadian National Railway Company.

commitment to climate change

According to his biography published by the federal government, Michael Sabella “has been involved in some international initiatives, including the United Nations Coalition for Carbon Neutrality and as Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Task Force on Infrastructure and Development” during Canada’s G7 presidency in 2018 He co-chairs the G7 Investor Leadership Network on Climate Change, Diversity and Infrastructure Development.

These are new challenges that will await Michael Sabella at Hydro-Québec, while the energy sector is vital to the province’s future. The new chief executive will have to deal with the end of electricity surpluses by 2026, while Quebec wants to electrify much of its economy to meet its climate goals.

In collaboration with Katia Tobar.