Brian Mulroney to be named Quebecor chairman

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney will soon take on the role of board chairman at telecom and media giant Quebecor Inc., according to a corporate filing.

Former prime minister will be appointed to the role next month

Former prime minister will be appointed to the role next month 1:16

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney will soon take on the role of board chairman at telecom and media giant Quebecor Inc., according to a corporate filing released Wednesday.

"Subject to their election, the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney...will be proposed to act respectively as Chairman of the Board and Vice-Chairman of the Board and Lead Director at the meeting of the Board of Directors to be held immediately after the Meeting," the filing says.

Mulroney, 75, is currently vice-chairman of the board. His promotion could be an attempt by Quebecor to draw a line between itself and the sovereigntist rhetoric of its former chairman, Pierre Karl Peladeau.

Peladeau stepped down from the board in March to enter provincial politics. The billionaire media mogul was elected to the Quebec legislature in April and is considered the top candidate to take over the fledgling Parti Québécois.

While Peladeau's arrival to the PQ was supposed to bring star status and deep pockets, critics say the Quebecor CEO instead forced sovereignty to the head of the platform when he proclaimed fist-in-air his desire to make Quebec a country.

The party suffered its worst defeat in at least a generation, losing 24 seats in the provincial election, and leader Pauline Marois announced she would step down.

Peladeau, who served as CEO and president of Quebecor from 2003 to 2013, still controls 73 per cent of the voting shares — unsettling for a business with expansionary visions while under the thumb of a man who wants to break up the country.

Looking for wireless service growth

Quebecor's largest newspaper is in Quebec, the Journal de Montreal, and its French-language television network TVA reach a huge audience in the province. 

But most of the company's 30-plus paid-circulation dailies are printed in Ontario. And the company is looking to grow its Videotron wireless service outside Quebec, after buying up wireless spectrum in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia in the federal government’s auction earlier this year.

Mulroney is considered an ardent federalist with strong connections to policymakers in Ottawa, where the cellphone industry is regulated.

Iain Grant, managing director of the Seaboard Group, says Mulroney will put the "Canada" back into Quebecor. 

"The national wireless strategy is a key part, so too will leveraging the national media brands," he said.

With files from The Canadian Press

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