Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Pierre Karl Peladeau Returns to Lead Quebecor after Foray into Quebec Politics

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Pierre Karl Peladeau Returns to Lead Quebecor after Foray into Quebec Politics

Article excerpt

Pierre Karl Peladeau returns to Quebecor

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MONTREAL - Following an eventful if brief foray into the political arena, Pierre Karl Peladeau is returning to his job as president and CEO of Quebecor, but the company he is coming back to is very different from the one he left.

Peladeau, whose family founded the company (TSX:QBR.B), stepped down from the top job in 2013.

"The corporation is dear to my heart," Peladeau, 55, said Thursday in a statement announcing his return. "It is in sound financial health and has grown steadily in recent years."

Peladeau, whose return is effective immediately, had served as president and CEO of Quebecor for 14 years before entering politics.

The eccentric media mogul ran for the Parti Quebecois in the 2014 provincial election and in 2015 was elected PQ leader, where he was regarded in some quarters as a potential hero for the separatist movement.

But his political career was short-lived and occasionally marked by controversy. He steadfastly refused to sell his controlling shares in Quebecor despite constant haranguing by opponents. Amid turmoil in his personal life, he resigned from politics last year.

In January 2016, he separated from his wife, actress and producer Julie Snyder, after a short marriage following years together.

Quebecor is one of Canada's largest media and telecommunications firms, but it's business has changed remarkably in the four years Peladeau has been gone.

The company has grown its wireless business, adding hundreds of thousands of new mobile phone customers since 2013.

However, the company faces challenges as it loses cable subscribers and its media division faces lower advertising revenues, said Michel Nadeau, a former top leader at Quebec pension fund manager La Caisse de depot, which owns almost 19 per cent of Quebecor Media.

"He will have to find new solutions for the media and the telecommuncations industry problems," he said.

The strong cash flow from the Videotron cable and wireless operations gives Peladeau time to craft a response, but Nadeau said Quebecor will have to make some changes because its investment in traditional media is just breaking even. …

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