The key to our success has also been finding the right people to guide us along our path. Our board of directors are an astute group of professionals whose financial insight is complemented by a diversified entrepreneurial and/or management background.
Pierre Somers is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Walter Group of Companies headquartered in Montreal, Canada. The Walter Group is mainly active in the financial sector, especially through the operations of Walter Financial, a prominent investment firm and keystone of the Group. The firm itself comprises two private equity firms: Walter Capital Partners and Walter Global Asset Management.
For over 30 years, Pierre Somers helmed the Walter Group’s founding company, Walter Surface Technologies, which was founded by his father in 1952 and owned by the Group until 2018. As head of the company, he was the driver behind its expansion to international markets. Walter Surface Technologies now operates in nine countries across the Americas and Europe. He also innovated with the creation of the Bio-Circle division, which offers environmentally safe solutions for industrial cleaning applications through bioremediation. On the financial side of the Group's operations, he contributed to the establishment of Walter Financial as a credible investment firm within the financial community. More recently, Pierre Somers initiated the creation of Walter Capital Partners, a private equity firm dedicated to supporting small- and medium-sized companies, as well as Walter Global Asset Management, a North American private equity platform focused on asset management.
Before taking the lead at Walter Group, Mr. Somers held various positions within Walter Surface Technologies in Canada and the U.S., where he garnered in-depth knowledge of various sectors of the company, on his way to becoming Chairman & CEO. At the beginning of his career, he worked as a mechanical engineer at Metabo AG, in Germany.
Pierre Somers holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University, in Potsdam, NY, which he obtained in 1976. In 2005, he was appointed Alumni of the YPO/MBA program at the Harvard Business School, an institution he has been active with for over 20 years. He is fluent in English, French and German.
Mr. Somers is a strong supporter of education. He has been honorary president for numerous fundraising campaigns held by organizations such as Madeli-Aide and the ITHQ (Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec), from which he has received an honoris causa degree. Through the Walter J. Somers Foundation, he supports the HEC Montréal Walter J. Somers Foundation Centre for Productivity and Prosperity, where he sits on the steering committee. Mr. Somers is a founding member of the Business Families Foundation, and is a member of the Presidents Club of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the World Presidents Organization and the CEO Organization.
Normand Bastien was Secretary-Treasurer and head of financial holdings for Walter Group from 1996 to 2013.
He first worked for Clarkson Gordon & Co. (Ernst & Young) as an auditor and consultant from 1969 to 1972 before becoming treasurer of Desberger Ltd. in the pharmaceutical industry. In 1975 he joined Walter Group as controller and Director of Operations.
During the course of his career he was involved with several mergers, acquisitions and corporate sales. He also has several years of experience in international finance and investment management as well as derivatives and foreign exchange. Mr. Bastien has been a board member of four public companies and several private companies.
Normand Bastien graduated from Université de Montréal in 1969 (HEC - L. Sc. Comm.) and became a CA in 1970.
François Beaudoin is a member of several corporate boards and provides advisory services to national and international organizations in strategic planning, merger and acquisitions, human resources management and financial planning.
Mr. Beaudoin is a career banker who was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Development Bank of Canada where he worked from 1990 to 1999. Prior to that, over a 16-year period, Mr. Beaudoin held several executive positions in Quebec and Ontario at Bank of Montreal, including the position of Vice-President in the Quebec Region. From 1999 to 2012, Mr. Beaudoin acted as Senior Advisor with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Montreal.
Mr. Beaudoin is a member of the following boards: Walter Financial (Chairman), Walter Surface Technologies, Peak Financial Group, Britton Electric, and Benson Group.
Mr. Beaudoin is past Chairman of the Quebec Chapter of the World Presidents Organization. Mr. Beaudoin holds an MBA from Columbia University in New York (1973) and a BBA from the HEC in Montreal.
Sylvain Brosseau has over 25 years of experience in the investment management industry. He was Global President and Chief Operating Officer at Fiera Capital from 2003 to 2017.
Before joining Fiera Capital, Mr. Brosseau served as Executive Vice-President, Institutional markets at TAL Global Asset Management Inc. and Executive Vice-President at TAL International where he oversaw worldwide distribution and operations. His experience also includes terms as Vice-President of marketing and Vice-President of technology and operations at Talvest Mutual Funds. Mr. Brosseau is currently a member of the board of directors of Fiera Capital Corporation and Equisoft Inc.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Magna Cum Laude) from the University of Vermont and a Master of Science from McGill University.
Pascal Duquette was President and CEO of Natcan Investment Management Subsidiary of National Bank for 8 years before becoming President of the HEC Foundation in 2012. He had previously been Head of Global Equities for the Canadian National Railway Pension Fund, where he worked for almost two decades.
Among his other professional activities, Mr. Duquette sits on the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra Foundation Board, the Governor Council Hautes Études Commerciales, the Canadian Advocacy Council CFA Institute, the Imperial Manufacturing Group Advisory Board, the Young Presidents Organisation and CFA Montreal. He is President of Placements Pasjo and Consultants Jopasc, and is a guest lecturer at the HEC, Concordia University, CFA societies and various investment groups.
Pascal Duquette holds a Master's degree in Science, Economics and Finance and a BAA from HEC in Montreal. He a recipient of the Prix Relève d'excellence - Grande entreprise HEC award for the under 35.
President and Chief Investment Officer
René Fournier is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Walter Financial. In this role, Mr. Fournier leads the investment team and is responsible for the company's investment strategies, including asset allocation. He is also a member of the board of Walter Capital Partners in addition to being the Lead Director of its Investment Committee. Furthermore, Mr. Fournier is a member of the board of directors of Mayrand and Alimplus, both private companies in the food sector.
Before joining the Walter Group, Mr. Fournier was responsible for the Canadian equities team at a large Canadian pension fund. His responsibilities included leading the team of analysts in addition to leading the research strategy. Earlier, he worked at EDC as a director of structured project finance and as a project manager at J.D. Irving.
Mr. Fournier received an MBA from McGill University. He holds a CFA title and a professional engineer title in addition to a bachelor's degree in Engineering from Moncton University.
Mr. Goodman currently serves as a corporate director of public, private and not-for-profit companies.
Until his retirement in 2011, Russell Goodman was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. He held senior management and leading client responsibilities at Canadian, North American and Global levels. He was Managing Partner for the Americas' Project Finance & Privatization team; and Global Head of Advisory Services to the Transport Sector, and Managing Partner for PWC Montreal Office. He later became Managing Partner of PWC Canada's Transactions and Private Equity Advisory Services, which included M&A; corporate and project finance; restructuring and distressed strategy; valuations; and litigation advisory services.
In addition to serving on the Advisory Boards of Walter Surface Technologies and Walter Financial, Russell Goodman serves on the boards of directors of Gildan Activewear, Metro, Northland Power, Whistler Blackcomb Holdings and Forth Ports. A fellow of the Quebec Order of Chartered Professional Accountants, Mr. Goodman holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University.
He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pointe-à-Callière Foundation.
Head of Corporate Development
Isabelle Somers joined the Walter Group of companies in 2016 as Head of Corporate Development. In this role, she oversees the strategic direction of the Walter Group and its affiliates. She is a member of the boards of Walter Group of companies, Walter Financial, Bio Circle GmbH (a specialist in state-of-the-art biological cleaning solutions) and SPUD Inc. (an online organic food distributor and wholesaler).
From 2011 to 2014, Ms. Somers started in the Group Strategy at Bombardier Transportation in Berlin, Germany, where she developed PRIMOVE pure electric bus business models and market entry strategies. She later joined the Corporate Audit Service and Risk Assessment department of Bombardier Inc., where she assessed operational and financial risks within its Transportation operations and delivered onsite risk mitigation roadmaps to senior management teams in 12 different countries.
In 2016, Ms. Somers completed her MBA at IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, during which, she worked in a smart wearable technology start-up focused on non-medical maternity devices to validate the market need, attract potential investors and secure strategic partnerships. She studied Visual Arts, followed by a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Finance at Concordia University, in Montreal.
Ms. Somers is an art enthusiast and passionate about culture, food, health and wellness, and is devoted to promoting environmental and agricultural sustainability initiatives.
Her favourite motivational quote: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
- Meet a management team dedicated to our success