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Press Releases | 20 April 2021

Gaétan Desroches announces his retirement as Sollio Cooperative Group CEO in September

Pascal Houle, the current COO, will become the new CEO

CEO

Montreal, April 20, 2021 – After working at Sollio Cooperative Group and its network for over 40 years, CEO Gaétan Desroches announces his plans to retire and leave his position effective September 10. Pascal Houle, the cooperative’s current COO, will become the new CEO effective September 11, 2021, as per the organizational succession plan.

“On behalf of the members of the Board, our employees and our cooperative members, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to Gaétan Desroches for his outstanding work not only during his tenure as CEO, but also throughout his 40-year career in our network. Under Gaétan Desroches’ leadership, Sollio Cooperative Group maintained its growth and strengthened its position as a leader in the Canadian agri-food and retail chain, and its sales increased from $5 to $8 billion in 6 years. Gaétan’s unifying leadership, down-to-earth, people-focused nature and passion for the agricultural cooperative community were strong assets that helped him get Sollio Cooperative Group to where it is today,” said Ghislain Gervais, President of Sollio Cooperative Group.

"I am very pleased to have contributed to Sollio Cooperative Group being recognized and respected for what it is, a great cooperative enterprise, well managed, owned by agricultural producers. It is therefore with a sense of accomplishment that I leave this organization and network, which has inspired me over the last 40 years. Working within the cooperative group model was a privilege that allowed me to combine cooperative values, in which I deeply believe, and business leadership. I am extremely grateful for the trust that agricultural producers, cooperatives, colleagues, and board members have put in me all these years. And for this, I would like to thank you immensely. I would also like to commend all of our great organization’s employees who work tirelessly to bring prosperity to farming families and feed the world. You will always have my utmost admiration,” said Gaétan Desroches

 

Pascal Houle is appointed as part of the succession plan

“I would like to congratulate Pascal Houle on his appointment as CEO. He has the full confidence and support of the Board of Directors. With his unifying leadership and skills, we are counting on him to make our desire of being Canada’s largest internationally successful agri-food cooperative a reality. His boldness, flexibility and diligence have set him apart since he first joined our network and continued to do so as BMR Group CEO and currently as Sollio COO. I have no doubt that these qualities will play a fundamental role in continuing our mission and meeting our objectives,” said Mr. Gervais.

“I will carry out my new duties with great enthusiasm and I am honoured by the trust shown to me by the Board. In recent years, our cooperative has changed much under Gaétan Desroches’ leadership, and I would also like to congratulate and thank him. In the coming years, my mandate will be to consolidate our acquisitions and continue positioning our organization as the benchmark for the agricultural and retail sectors. Building on our cooperative business model, Sollio Cooperative Group will continue working to ensure farming families prosper while shaping the agri-food sector of the future with Sollio Agriculture, Olymel and BMR Group,” said Pascal Houle.

 

Biography of Pascal Houle

Pascal Houle holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and is a Chartered Management Accountant (CMA) and Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). He has been COO at Sollio Cooperative Group since February 2021 as per the organizational succession plan. He has held several positions since joining the Sollio Cooperative Group network in 1998, first as Hardware Manager at La Coop des Appalaches, then as Management Consultant at La Coop fédérée. In 2004, he joined La Coop des Bois-Francs, now known as VIVACO groupe coopératif, as Hardware, Materials and Petroleum Manager. In 2008, he was appointed General Manager of the cooperative. Pascal joined BMR Group as Retail Vice-President in 2013, before being appointed Executive Vice-President. In 2015, he became Chief Executive Officer of BMR Group and Executive Vice-President of Sollio Cooperative Group.

 

About Sollio Cooperative Group

We are Sollio Cooperative Group, Canada's largest agricultural cooperative with roots in Quebec. Since 1922, cultivating, raising, producing, transforming and building the economy of tomorrow are daily gestures that are part of the DNA of our 16,150 employees and the 7,000 workers of our affiliated cooperatives. With more than 123,000 members, agricultural producers and consumers grouped into 48 traditional agricultural and consumer cooperatives as well as two sections, one grouping Olymel's supplier pork producers and the other grouping independent BMR hardware dealers, Sollio Cooperative Group contributes to feeding people by ensuring the prosperity of farm families to ensure a sustainable future for the world. Through its three divisions - Sollio Agriculture, Olymel L.P. and Groupe BMR inc. - Sollio Cooperative Group proudly acts as a driving force for economic and social development rooted in the regions, generating $8.2 billion in sales (more than $11 billion including affiliated cooperatives). Our cooperative values are based on honesty, equity, responsibility and solidarity. Resolutely forward-looking, Sollio Cooperative Group adheres to the principles of sustainable development. By 2025, Sollio Cooperative Group wants to be recognized as a leading player in its sectors of retail sales in Canada, the North American agricultural sector, and the agri-food sector internationally.

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