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  1. NEARLY $630 MILLION IN FOREIGN INVESTMENT AND TWO NEW INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS ATTRACTED; HELP TO OVER 1,000 SKILLED FOREIGN WORKERS TO ESTABLISH IN GREATER MONTRÉAL MONTREAL, April 15 /CNW Telbec/ - On the occasion of its 14th Annual Meeting held today with 200 members and partners attending, Montréal International (MI) presented its results for the year 2009. Among the highlights were the metropolitan economic development organization's success in contributing to attract nearly $630 million in foreign investment, two new international organizations and over 1,000 skilled foreign workers into Greater Montréal. On the innovation front, MI supported five promising projects in high-tech industries in Metropolitan Montréal. As for promoting the region's advantages on the international stage, some 40 activities were undertaken in foreign markets. At the event - which welcomed Mr. André Lauzon, Executive Producer and Head of Electronic Arts Mobile Montréal as guest speaker - the Acting President and CEO of Montréal International, Mr. Luc Lacharité, emphasized: "The competence and dedication of MI's staff, combined with the support and collaboration of the organization's members and partners, once again has generated further substantial benefits for the metropolitan region's economic competitiveness and international status, in spite of difficult world economic conditions." Foreign investment In 2009, MI helped attract $626.3 million in foreign investment into Greater Montréal. This investment, nearly three-quarters of which is in high-technology sectors and will create or maintain over 2,900 jobs in the metropolitan region, comes 56% from North America, 32% from Europe and 12% from Asia. A further indicator of the added value of MI's results is that over half (55.3%) of the projects were new set-ups. International organizations In terms of attracting international organizations (IOs), the MI 2009 Activity Report mentions the decision of two IOs to set up in Montréal, as well as the official opening of the secretariats of two other IOs in the metropolis. Various international promotional and networking activities were also organized among the IOs community during the year. Skilled foreign workers In 2009, the International Mobility team handled 1,025 files of skilled foreign workers on behalf of 262 businesses, institutions and international organizations in Greater Montréal. In total, 1,784 individuals benefited from MI help and career counselling to settle in the region. The impact of this specialized foreign workforce is very positive for Greater Montréal, as their combined earnings will represent more than $155 million over three years. This qualified workforce also boosts the region's expertise in key sectors. Innovation Last year, MI supported five promising projects in innovation development in Greater Montréal: - Research and innovation initiative in computer-generated images, a Québec Film and Television Council project; - Mobility Alliance, a TechnoMontréal project in cooperation with Alliance numérique to develop and market new applications and new content for mobile platforms; - ScienceAffaires meetings, in cooperation with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), a pilot project to maximize sharing among scientists, artists, economic development players and the business world; - A market intelligence study in the medical drug sector, in cooperation with the Québec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CDQM); - The 2009 Aerospace Innovation Forum, organized by Aéro Montréal. International promotion of Greater Montréal At the top of the list of MI's key promotional achievements in 2009 is its upgraded website. The 2009-2010 edition of "Greater Montréal's Attractiveness Indicators" has also drawn keen interest. This annual MI publication also won an APDEQ (Québec Association of Economic Development Professionals) award in the best information tool category. Lastly, numerous promotional events were organized last year, including a mission to New York in which MI partners participated. MI Board of Directors The 2010-2011 Board of Directors of Montréal International is made up of the following members (N=new member, R=renewal): Private Sector Members: - Mr. Luc Benoît, President, AECOM Tecsult; - Mr. André Boulanger, President, Hydro-Québec Distribution ®; - Mr. Jean-Jacques Bourgeault, Vice Chairman of the Board, Montréal International, and Corporate Director; - Mr. Pierre Brunet, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Montréal International, and Corporate Director; - Mr. Renaud Caron, Principal Vice President, Strategic Development, CGI Group; - Me C. Stephen Cheasley, Treasurer, Montréal International, and Partner, Fasken Martineau ®; - Mr. James C. Cherry, President and Chief Executive Officer, Aéroports de Montréal ®; - Mr. Richard Filion, Director General, Dawson College, and President, Regroupement des collèges du Montréal métropolitain (Metropolitan Montréal College Alliance); - Mr. Michel Guay, Chairman of the Board, TechnoMontréal ®; - Mr. Luc Lacharité, Acting President and Chief Executive Officer, Montréal International; - Mr. Guy LeBlanc, Managing Partner, Montréal Office, PricewaterhouseCoopers (N); - Me David McAusland, Partner, McCarthy Tétrault ®; - Mr. Andrew T. Molson, Vice Chairman, Molson Coors Brewing Company ®; - Mr. Marc Parent, President of the Board of Directors, Aéro Montréal, and President and Chief Executive Officer, CAE; - Ms. Louise Roy, Chancellor, Université de Montréal, Chair of the Board, Conseil des arts de Montréal, and Cirano invited Fellow ®; - Mr. Jean-Pierre Sauriol, President and CEO, Dessau; - Mr. Hubert Thibault, Vice President - Institutional Affairs, Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec ®; - Ms. Sylvie Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Montréal Port Authority ®; - Dr. Judith Woodsworth, President, Concordia University. Public sector Representatives: - Mr. Michael Applebaum, Mayor of the Borough of Côte-des-Neiges - Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of the City of Montréal, responsible for Services to citizens, Relations with the Boroughs and Housing, Member of the Agglomeration Council and the Board of Directors of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) (N); - Mr. Richard Deschamps, Member of the Executive Committee, responsible for Major Projects 2025, Economic development, Infrastructures and Roads, City Councillor, LaSalle Borough, City of Montréal ®; - Mr. Claude Haineault, Mayor of the City of Beauharnois ®; - Mr. Luis Miranda, Mayor of the Anjou Borough, City of Montréal ®; - Ms. Sylvie Parent, Member of the Executive Committee, City of Longueuil ®; - Mr. Jean-Marc Robitaille, Mayor of the City of Terrebonne and Warden of MRC Des Moulins ®; - Mr. Jean Séguin, Sous-ministre adjoint à la Métropole, Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l'Occupation du territoire (MAMROT); - Mr. Gérald Tremblay, Mayor of the City of Montréal and President of the Board, Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) ®; - Ms. Rita Tremblay, Vice President, Policy and Planning, Canada Economic Development for Québec Regions; - Mr. Gilles Vaillancourt, Mayor of the City of Laval and Vice President of the Board, Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) ®. A full report of Montréal International's 2009 activities is available on its website: http://www.montrealinternational.com. About Montréal International Montréal International (MI) was created in 1996 as a result of a private/public partnership. Its mission is to contribute to the economic development of metropolitan Montréal and to enhance its international status. Its mandates include attracting foreign investment, international organizations and qualified workers, supporting the development of innovation and metropolitan clusters, and promoting the competitive and international environment of Greater Montréal. Montréal International is funded by the private sector, the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (Montréal Metropolitan Community), the City of Montréal and the Governments of Canada and Québec. Since its creation, Montréal International has helped to attract more than $7.5 billion in foreign investment to Greater Montréal. From these investments, more than 43 000 jobs have been created or maintained. To date, MI's activities have also allowed more than 25 international organizations to establish themselves in the city and attract more than 4 000 qualified foreign workers. To learn more, please visit MI Web site at: http://www.montrealinternational.com. For further information: Benoît Lefèvre, Communications Advisor, Montréal International, (514) 987-9323, [email protected] http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/April2010/15/c2834.html
  2. Head offices are worth protecting High-value jobs come with territory DAVID CRANE, Freelance Published: Thursday, July 24 When Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Australian mining giant, made a successful $38.1 billion bid for Alcan a year ago, the Quebec government quickly intervened to make sure that Alcan's global head office remained in Montreal. Fortunately, the Quebec government not only had leverage but, in un-Canadian fashion, chose to exercise it. Those with longer memories can recall how, when Stone Container of Chicago acquired Montreal-based Consolidated Bathurst in 1999, the head office was quickly dismantled and most important functions were transferred to Chicago. Head offices clearly matter, and, with the number of high-profile foreign takeovers of Canadian companies, this has triggered fears of a "hollowing out" of the economy. That's why, just over a year ago, the Harper government asked a small group of talented Canadians, led by corporate executive Red Wilson, to tell it what to do. Wilson's panel - the Competition Policy Review Panel - has now delivered its report, with many important proposals to improve the competitiveness of Canadian companies and build more Canadian multinationals. But Wilson's panel has not been successful in designing an effective policy on foreign takeovers that balances Canada's commitment to an open economy with the need for a stronger business sector headquartered in Canada. Our experience tells us that head offices of large corporations bring many benefits, the panel says. "When a Canadian company is acquired by another Canadian company, Canada loses a head office but gains a stronger company. When the acquirer is foreign, Canada loses a head office and a company," it contends, arguing that foreign takeovers affect career opportunities for Canadians as well as many community benefits associated with large head offices. As the panel stresses, "the head office of an enterprise is its 'brain.' It is the place where strategy and other critical decisions are made by its key management personnel." When a Canadian firm is acquired by a foreign enterprise, decisions that once were made in Canada are now made in another part of the world where Canadian interests may have little importance. Head offices provide high-skill, high-paying jobs. And as the panel points out, head offices also support many other jobs "by attracting high-value business services - legal, accounting, consulting, information technologies, marketing and advertising - to the community." But the panel's solution to foreign takeovers is not to propose stronger rules on foreign takeovers but to advocate policies to develop a new generation of Canadian-based multinationals, companies like CAE, Bombardier and SNC-Lavalin, as well as making Canada more attractive for divisional headquarters of foreign multinationals, as happened with Alcan. These are important proposals and we should certainly do all we can. But even if we do a better job of creating new companies, the best of them could also become foreign takeover targets. So we would be growing seed corn for foreign multinationals or, as it has been put, "growing guppies to feed the sharks." Moreover, the panel would make it even easier for foreign corporations to acquire budding Canadian multinationals by limiting Investment Canada screening of foreign takeovers to companies with a value of $1 billion or more, compared with the current level of about $295 million. This would be a mistake - we should keep as much screening scope as possible. The panel does propose that instead of judging foreign takeovers on a vague test of "net benefit" to Canada, that negotiation of proposed takeovers be based on a test of "Canada's national interest." Australia, which uses the "national interest" test for takeovers of about $100 million or more, has shown it's possible to use this approach to negotiate strong terms or alternatively to say no. For example, according to Secor Consulting, when BHP Ltd. of Australia and Billiton Plc of Britain merged in 2001 to create BHP Billiton, Australia required that the company continue to be an Australian, managed in Australia and listed on the Australian stock exchange. The global headquarters had to be in Australia, both the CEO and CFO had to have their principal places of residence, offices and key supporting functions in Australia and the majority of all regularly scheduled board and executive committee meetings had to occur in Australia. So the "national interest" test could make sense. But it would have to be carefully defined to give Canadians confidence that Ottawa would really stand up for Canadian interests. The panel also proposes easing Canada's foreign takeover restrictions on foreign ownership of Canadian airlines, telecommunications companies and broadcasters. But it's hard to see clear benefits. One important recommendation the panel does make is to give directors of Canadian corporations more power to say "no" to foreign takeover bids. Today, directors are typically forced to become "auctioneers" and find an alternative buyer in response to an unwanted bid. In the U.S., directors have much greater capacity to simply say "no." Canada should continue to screen foreign takeovers, but with a more rigorous and more transparent negotiation of conditions and a greater readiness to say no, while improving the ability of corporate boards to reject unwelcome takeovers. Canada should also focus more on attracting foreign corporations to launch new businesses here, not take over our existing ones. David Crane is a Canadian writer who closely follows innovation and globalization issues. He can be reached at [email protected] interlog.com. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=65bbef64-3d8f-401e-8ad2-7790f7f4bcd1&p=2