By Robert Frank
The man who each year for the past six years has helped to bring a billion dollars of investment to Laval is reportedly about to turn over the helm of Laval Technopole at the end of this month.
As this week’s edition of The Suburban went to press, news broke that Pierre Desroches’ contract will not be renewed when it ends, Dec. 31. He is the latest in a parade of key Laval officials to head out the door. This year has seen an unprecedented number of departures of top municipal civil servants. They include the city manager and his deputy, the police chief and his deputy as well as the city’s ombudsman.
In addition, three more retirements were announced during Mayor Marc Demers’ first city council meeting last month, including longtime city clerk and chief returning officer, Guy Collar, who ran the Nov. 3 municipal election.
Desroches’ exit comes just a few weeks after city council appointed Mouvement lavallois founder, Councillor David de Cotis, as chairman of Laval Technopole’s board of directors. Desroches had served as president and CEO since 2008, and his departure will reportedly be made official at tomorrow’s Laval Technopole’s board meeting.
Established in 1995, Laval Technopole was the first organization in Quebec to foster economic centres of excellence. It has since established agribusiness, information technology, industrial and leisure and tourism corporate hubs, as well as the biotech city—a life sciences cluster second to none in North America. It has encouraged a growing number of international corporations to set up their Canadian head offices in Laval, and actively seeks opportunities for Laval entrepreneurs to sell their wares in American, European and other overseas markets.
During Desroches’ tenure, Laval’s economy has boomed, in sharp contrast to most of the rest of the province. Office tower construction and industrial development is growing at a pace unseen in decades.
“It’s fantastic,” he said of Laval in an interview, Nov. 20, during which he imparted his infectious enthusiasm for Quebec’s third-largest city. “Laval is about potential and opportunity. The kind of environment that attracts companies to open up here.”
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