From Ski-Doo’s to Corporate Jets: Laurent Beaudoin retires after 55 years at Bombardier

Mr. Beaudoin joined the Company in 1963, when Bombardier was a snowmobile manufacturer based in Valcourt, Québec.

Laurent Beaudoin, Bombardier’s Chairman Emeritus.
Laurent Beaudoin, Bombardier’s Chairman Emeritus. Photo courtesy Bombardier

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018, marked the retirement of Bombardier’s Chairman Emeritus, Laurent Beaudoin, who decided not to seek re-election on the Board. Mr. Beaudoin had joined the Company in 1963, when Bombardier was a snowmobile manufacturer based in Valcourt, Québec.

Laurent Beaudoin was the man who steered Bombardier from snowmobile maker to global transportation giant and he reportedly protected the family’s voting control of the company through many challenging situations and times.

“If we had given up the minority voting shares I think you would not be here today, you would not see Bombardier as it is,” former CEO and chairman Laurent Beaudoin said Thursday at his last Bombardier annual meeting.

He said the recent development of the C Series that nearly drove the company into bankruptcy was difficult, but surviving the 1973 oil crisis was more challenging because Bombardier then only had one product, the Ski-Doo, he told the Canadian Press.

Under his leadership as President and Chief Executive Officer, and later as Chairman, Bombardier went public and diversified into the rail and aerospace industries to become a global mobility leader.

“Laurent Beaudoin’s exceptional contribution is a source of inspiration and pride for all of us at Bombardier. To see a local champion becoming a global powerhouse, with a presence in more than 100 countries around the world, is truly remarkable,” said Alain Bellemare, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bombardier Inc. “Bombardier, Québec and Canada are recognized globally as leaders in rail and aerospace today thanks to his vision, audacity and leadership.”

During Mr. Beaudoin’s tenure, the Company achieved incredible milestones, including the 1974 Montreal Metro contract; the 1982 New York City subway contract, dubbed the “contract of the century”; the launch of the Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) program in 1989, which has gone on to become the world’s most successful regional aircraft program; and the launch of the Global Express family of aircraft in 1993. Through the acquisition of companies like ANF-Industrie, Canadair, Short Brothers, Learjet, AdTranz and de Havilland, Mr. Beaudoin secured Bombardier’s place as the world’s leading manufacturer of rail transportation equipment and civil aircraft. Largely recognized as one of the best in the world, Bombardier’s vast product portfolio is a testament to Mr. Beaudoin’s legacy.

Bombardier Recreational Products, which is known as BRP, has a work force of more than 7,500 people. The Valcourt, Que. company was spun off from former parent Bombardier Inc. in December 2003, in a $960-million sale to members of the Bombardier family, a U.S. investment firm and Canada's biggest pension fund.
 

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