Monique F. Leroux was the Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group from 2008 to 2016. Desjardins is the largest cooperative financial group in Canada, with assets of nearly $250 billion, which also ranks fifth in the world. Desjardins is one of the 20 largest employers in Canada, supported by the skills of its 45,000 employees and the commitment of more than 5,000 elected officers. Drawing on the strength of its caisse network in Quebec and Ontario and its subsidiaries across Canada, Desjardins Group offers a full range of financial products and services to its millions of members and clients. Desjardins specializes in wealth management, life and health insurance, property and casualty insurance, personal services, and business and institutional services.
Under her leadership, Desjardins Group has received a great deal of recognition. In 2014, Corporate Knights Magazine ranked Desjardins fifth on its list of the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada and named it the second most sustainable financial institution in the world. Mediacorp named it one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and a Top Family-Friendly Employer in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Financial Post included Desjardins on its list of the 10 Best Companies to Work For in 2012, Aon Hewitt named it one of Canada’s Best Employers in Canada in 2014, and Mediacorp ranked it one of Canada’s Greenest Employers and Canada’s Top Employers for Young People in 2015.
Bolstered by the mobilization of Desjardins Group’s elected officers and managers, she has defined a performance-based strategic vision for the future of Desjardins Group that is strongly rooted in its cooperative mission and values. Ms. Leroux has chosen to focus on service, growth and efficiency for the benefit of its members and clients and to improve the organization’s financial strength—as evidenced by Desjardins ranking first on Bloomberg’s 2015 list on the strongest financial institution in North America and fifth in the world.
From the beginning of Ms. Leroux’s first term, Desjardins Group has sustained continued nationwide growth and has seen a number of successful acquisitions and strategic partnerships both at home and abroad (Western Financial Group, MGI Financial and Qtrade Financial Group). In 2015, Desjardins also acquired State Farm’s Canadian operations. Finally, Desjardins has signed a cooperation agreement with Crédit Mutuel, a top-tier mutualist financial institution in Europe. This partnership has resulted in, among other things, the launch of Monetico International, resulting in better services for members.
A member of the senior management team since 2001, Ms. Leroux has held a number of roles, including President of Desjardins Financial Corporation and CEO of its subsidiaries. Under her leadership, the Corporation and its subsidiaries achieved significant business growth and improvements to their financial performance. From 2004 to 2008, she was Chief Financial Officer of Desjardins Group.
Before joining Desjardins, Ms. Leroux held the position of Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer at Quebecor Inc. Prior to that, she was Senior Vice President, Quebec Division, at RBC Royal Bank, where she was also Senior Vice-President, Finance. Previously with Ernst & Young, Ms. Leroux was Managing Partner of services to the Quebec financial industry and Managing Partner in charge of auditing and consulting for national and international companies. A member of Ernst & Young’s Strategy Committee for the corporate and large business sectors, she was responsible for their Sales and Marketing Group for Eastern Canada.
In 2016, Ms. Leroux was appointed Chair of the Board of Investissement Québec and Chair of the Quebec Economic and Innovation Council by the Quebec Government.
On November 13, 2015, at the International co-operative Alliance’s global conference and general assembly, in Turkey, members elected Monique F. Leroux, as their President and thereby became the first Canadian and first North American to be appointed to this prestigious role. Already active with the Alliance as a board member, she is also a member of the board of CIC, a subsidiary of Crédit Mutuel, of the Executive Committee of the International Confederation of Popular Banks and chairs the High Level Contact Group of the European Association of Co-operative Banks. In the interest of promoting and gaining recognition for the cooperative model, Ms. Leroux founded the International Summit of Cooperatives, an event first held in October 2012 in Quebec City to mark the International Year of Cooperatives. Given its success, she also served as the co-chair of the second (2014) and third edition of the International Summit of Cooperatives in October 2016, which once again brought 3,000 participants from more than 116 countries to Quebec City.
In 2015, Ms. Leroux was asked to represent the Canadian business group at the B7 Summit in Berlin, at the G7 Forum for Dialogue with Women under Chancellor Angela Merkel and at the G20 Leaders' Summit. She also sits on the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service, the Economic Advisory Council of the Minister of Finance of Canada, the Government of Canada’s Advisory Council on Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders, the Canada’s Public Policy Forum “Governance Matters” panel, the Council for Clean Capitalism, the Catalyst Canada Advisory Board, the Order of Canada Advisory Council, the HEC-Montréal’s Council of Governors, and the Governing Board of Finance Montréal. Ms. Leroux is also a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Founders’ Council of the Quebec Global 100 Network, and the Bureau des gouverneurs du Conseil du patronat du Québec. In 2010, she was also a member of the expert panel that led the Review of Federal Support to R&D.
Her expertise and accomplishments have been widely acknowledged, notably by honorary doctorates from the Royal Military College of Canada and Saint Mary’s University in 2015, Université de Montréal in 2013, Université de Sherbrooke and University of Ottawa in 2012, Concordia University and Bishop’s University in 2011 and Université du Québec à Chicoutimi in 2010. She also received an Outstanding Achievement Award from and was designated a Fellow by the Ordre des CPA du Québec in 2013.
In 2015, she was inducted into the Club des entrepreneurs du Conseil du patronat du Québec and became a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors.
In 2014, she was named Personality of the Year by La Presse, in the Management and Entrepreneurship category, and CEO of the Year by Les Affaires, in the Large Organization category. She also took 19th place in Canadian Business Magazine’s list of Canada’s 50 Most Powerful Business People and was named one of 20 outstanding women by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity.
In 2013, Ms. Leroux became a member of the Order of Canada, an officer of l’Ordre national du Québec, Chevalier de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur and Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the Régiment de la Chaudière.
In 2012, she received the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Pléiade of the Assemblée parlementaire de la francophonie. She was also presented with a Mercure Leadership Germaine-Gibara award from the Fédération des Chambres de commerce du Québec, the Excellence in Business award from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and the Women Corporate Directors Visionary Award (USA). She was named Woman of Outstanding Achievement by the Women’s Y Foundation and Quebec’s Financial Person of the Year by Finance et Investissement.
In 2011, she received the Woodrow Wilson Award for her contribution to Canadian society from the Canada Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (USA), as well as the Centre Jacques Cartier medal. She was also selected as one of the year’s honourees by the Public Policy Forum and was named a champion of The Catalyst Canada Honours.
In 2010, Ms. Leroux was featured in Les Affaires in a tribute to daring entrepreneurs and business people, and she was also named one of 25 Transformational Canadians by the Globe and Mail, CTV and La Presse. In the same year, she was awarded the Prix Réalisations by the Réseau des femmes d’affaires du Québec (Quebec business women’s network). In 2008, she was named Personality of the Year by Les Affaires and Personnalité de la Francophonie économique by the Canadian chapter of the Forum francophone des affaires. Also a three-time honouree on the Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 list, Ms. Leroux was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Toronto-based Women’s Executive Network in 2008.
Ms. Leroux is also committed to her profession and to her community. She served as President of the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec and Governor of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. She also lends her time to a host of charitable organizations. She is a member of the board of directors and the executive committee of the Rideau Hall Foundation, chair of the Board of Governors of the Society for the Celebrations of Montreal’s 375th anniversary, chair of the international board of governors of the Institut international des coopératives Alphonse-et-Dorimène Desjardins and president of the Desjardins Foundation. In 2014, she co-chaired the 2014 United Way fundraising campaign for Greater Montreal. She was also President of the Canada Summer Games–Sherbrooke 2013, for which she was named Personality of the Week by La Presse and Mérite Estrien by La Tribune.
Finally, in 2015, she published Ma vie en mouvement, a biography of her journey in the co-operative movement. In 2014, she published Conversations on Cooperation, a book of interviews with some 20 leaders of the Canadian and international cooperative world, and in 2012 she published a book entitled _Alphonse Desjardins: A Vision for Today's World, Quotations on the Amazing Power of Cooperative_s.
A demonstrated passion for cooperation
A leader active in all areas of the cooperative movement and the economic scene
- Chair of the Quebec Economic and Innovation Council by the Quebec Government since October 2016
- Chair of the Board of Investissement Québec since May 2016
- Co-Chair B20 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Cross-thematic Group since September 2016
- President of the International Co-operative Alliance since 2015
- Chair of the High Level Contact Group of the European Association of Co-operative Banks, since September 2015
- Member of the G7 Forum for Dialogue with Women under Chancellor Angela Merkel, Berlin, September 2015
- Leader of the Canadian business group at the B7 Summit in Berlin, May 2015
- Panel member of Canada’s Public Policy Forum Governance Matters working group, since January 2015
- Member of the B20 Turkey Financing Growth Taskforce, since 2015
- Chair of the International Accounting and Regulatory Affairs Committee of the International Co-Operative Alliance, since 2014
- Chair of the international board of governors of the Institut International des cooperatives Alphonse-et-Dorimène Desjardins, since October 2014
- Member of the Economic advisory Council of the Minister of Finance of Canada, since September 2014
- Member of the federal government’s Advisory Council on Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders, since May 2014
- Member of the Board of directors of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), since November 2013
- Member of the Advisory Committee on the Public Service (appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada), since May 2013
- Member of the Board of Directors of Crédit Mutuel’s subsidiary CIC (Crédit industriel et commercial), since April 2013
- Vice-President of the Presidential Committee and member of the Executive Committee of the International Confederation of Popular Banks, since July 2010
Recognitions and awards
A vision for cooperation as an economic driver that is recognized by her peers all over the world.
- Honorary Doctor of 8 Canadian universities, including Saint Mary’s University
- Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors, June 2015
- #19 on the list of Canada’s 50 Most Powerful Business People, Canadian Business Magazine, August 2014
- Officer of l’Ordre national du Québec, June 2013
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2012
- Member of Order of Canada, June 2012
- 2012 Women Corporate Directors Visionary Award, New York, May 2012
- Title of Chevalier de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur, April 2012
- Title of Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Pléiade, March 2012
- Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship, October 2011
- Personnalité de la Francophonie économique, Comité national canadien du Forum francophone des affaires, October 2008
Education, interpersonal support and sports as a means of personal development are values she holds dear.
- President of Desjardins Foundation since 2008
- Co-Chair of the 2014 Greater Montreal United Way Campaign
- President of the Canada Summer Games-Sherbrooke, 2013
- Chair of numerous fundraising campaigns
Conferences, publications and academic activities
Persuasive and driven, she is committed to the promotion and defense of the cooperative movement at the local, national and international level.
- Panelist at the Women's Forum, December 2016
- Panelist at Rencontres économiques d’Aix-en-Provence, July 2016
- Co-panelist at the International Economic Forum of the Americas, Conférence of Montréal, June 2015 (How the Cooperative Movement contributes to a Balanced Economy?)
- Co-panelist with Alain Fradin, at the Chamber of Commerce France-Canada, Paris, May 2015 (L’accompagnement des entreprises entre la France et le Canada: Enjeux et accélérateurs)
- Speaker, Canadian Club of Toronto, February 12, 2015 (A Call for Enhanced Cooperation and Innovation)
- Speaker, IFC-Montréal, London, March 5, 2015 (Montreal: An International Financial Hub)
- Co-panelist with Dame Pauline Green, Montreal Council on Foreign Relations, March 13, 2015 (Global Economy Seeking Sustainable Prosperity: Why Not Counting on Cooperatives?)
- Author of Conversations on Cooperation, a book of interviews with some 20 leaders of the Canadian and international cooperative world, October 2014
Watch the interviews here
Download the book here
- Speaker at the Co-operative Congress, Manchester, UK, November 2012
- Author of the book Alphonse Desjardins: A Vision for Today's World, Quotations on the Amazing Power of Cooperatives, Montreal, March 2012
Available for download here
- Speaker at the World Economic Forum (Round tables: World Economic Brainstorming : Business, Governance and Leadership – New Pressures and Realities and The Future Enterprise Model), January 2012
- Speaker at the Leadership Forum of the International Co-operative Alliance, United Nation, New York, November 2011 (Cooperative Finance)
International Summit of Cooperatives