March 27, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

Complete Canadian News World

French lessons for many CEOs

French lessons for many CEOs

The Rousseau affair created a shock wave among companies running monolingual anglophones. Many of them are now taking training courses to learn Moliere language.

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This is the case of Michael Russo of Air Canada, Ian Edwards of SNC-Lavalin, Rania Levelin of Laurence Bank and Loves Canada boss Tony Hurst who bought the Quebec flagship RONA.

“Mrs. Levellin has been taking French lessons for some time. Apprenticeship is going on and it is always improving,” Laurentian spokeswoman Merrick Seguin assured in an interview with the Le Journal.

“All members of our Management Committee have been living in Quebec, including our President, who is of American nationality and has lived there since his appointment in January 2020. He has also been enrolled in French courses since that date,” Lowes underlined Canada for his part.

Mute CGI and Couche-Tard

On the other hand, it is difficult to know the game plan of the giant CGI, founded by Serge Godin.

A few months ago, French gave no preference to group boss George Schindler, who gave a virtual English-only speech to the Canadian Club of Montreal.

Does he have any plans to train? Impossible to know, because CGI was never designed to answer our calls or emails. Communications are now “managed” from Virginia, where Bigg Boss resides, to pay lower taxes.

With respect to Alimentation Kuche-Tard, this is more or less the same situation. When Brian Hannash, an American living in Columbus, Indiana, was hired, the company promised that he would learn French, but that did not materialize. Couche-Tard was unable to respond to our requests.

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Social responsibility

The Shareholder Education and Defense Movement (MDAC), should consider the French as a corporate social responsibility.

“French should be officially included in the articles of association. This will prevent meetings, especially those held in Laurentian Bank and Saputo, among other things, specifically in English, ”said MÉDAC Director Willie Gagnon.

Here are the companies headquartered in Quebec and the managers who own the monolingual Anglophone. Note that the Canadian National is looking for a new boss.

Air Canada

  • CEO Name: Michael Rousseau
  • From the office: 2020
  • Headquarters: Montreal
  • Residence in Quebec: Yes
  • Number of employees in Quebec: Not available

Michael Rousseau made a lot of ink flow. According to a letter written to the air carrier’s staff, the person concerned has already begun training in French.

Laurentian Bank

  • CEO Name: Rania Levellin
  • From the office: November 2020
  • Headquarters: Montreal
  • Residence in Quebec: But
  • Number of employees in Quebec: 1600

“She understands the uniqueness of Quebec and its culture,” spokeswoman Merrick Segwin told us. Mrs. Levellin has been taking courses regularly for a few months and she has already given messages in French to internal employees.


  • CEO Name: Brian Hannash
  • From the office: 2014
  • Headquarters: Laval
  • Residence in Quebec: But
  • Number of employees in Quebec: 8000

When he arrived, Couche-Tard promised that his boss would speak French, which did not materialize. Couche-Tard ignored our repeated requests for interviews.


  • CEO Name: Ian Edwards
  • From the office: 2019
  • Headquarters: Montreal
  • Residence in Quebec: Yes
  • Number of employees in Quebec: 3000
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Previously, Mr. Edwards took French courses with mixed results. Before speaking publicly he said he wanted to get more training now.

Lowes Canada

  • CEO Name: Tony Hurst
  • From the office: January 2020
  • Headquarters: Boucherville
  • Residence in Quebec: Yes
  • Number of employees in Quebec: 10 000

The leader of American nationality is based in Quebec and has been taking French courses since his appointment.


  • CEO Name: George d. Schindler
  • From the office: October 2016
  • Headquarters: Montreal
  • Residence in Quebec: But
  • Number of employees in Quebec: 6000

It’s hard to say what the company’s game plan is, because despite our repeated requests, CGI never responds. Journal. Communications now appear to be conducted in Virginia.

Canadian National

  • Next CEO: The recruitment process is underway
  • Arrival at Post‌: In the next few months
  • Headquarters: Montreal
  • Residence in Quebec: To be continued
  • Number of employees in Quebec: 3900

The current boss, Jean-Jacques Roost, is bilingual and will retire in the coming weeks. But can he speak French in his place? “CN’s internal and external information is always available in both of Canada’s official languages. The board of directors is very sensitive to this reality, ”said spokesman Jonathan Abacasis.