A brotherhood
of entrepreneurs

Commerce magazine (March 1983)
Photo credit : Cascades archives

COMPLEMENTARY STRENGTHS AND A SHARED VISION

The skill sets and entrepreneurial profiles of the three Lemaire brothers were different yet complementary. Bernard, “the visionary,” studied civil engineering. Laurent, “the financier,” earned a Master’s Degree in Commerce. Alain, “the operator,” attended the Institut des pâtes et papiers de Trois-Rivières. Their distinct abilities and shared vision made them a strong, balanced management team.

Between 1964 and 2013, Bernard, Laurent and Alain each served in turn as president of the company. Unified in their ambition, they made sure that there was consensus on any key decisions affecting the company’s growth. Teamwork was established as one of Cascades’ core values and their collaborative mindset was an asset that would allow them to engage in major partnerships in order to grow the company.

Clip from Alain Lemaire’s interview, cercle des grands entrepreneurs du québec – only available in french

THREE AGAINST THE WORLD

Cascades went public in 1983, spurring a burst of growth. The Lemaire brothers then proceeded to acquire decommissioned plants, sometimes for as little as one dollar, and turn them into modern production facilities. They subsequently expanded their operations into the United States and then into France. Ever the innovators, they established the Cascades Research and Development Centre in 1985.

Laurent Lemaire, Alain Lemaire, Pierre Lortie and Bernard Lemaire (1983)
Photo credit : Cascades Archives

We thought they were very ambitious and had lofty goals. Bernard, who already had a $500-million company, was already aiming for a $3-billion company!

Robert Hall, chief legal officer and corporate secretary, cascades

The creation of Norampac was also a turning point in the company’s growth. The Lemaire brothers created the subsidiary in 1997 in partnership with Domtar. In 2006, Cascades acquired Domtar’s interest in Norampac, which grew to become the North American leader in containerboard manufacturing.

The Lemaire brothers at the acquisition of Norampac (2006)
Photo credit : cascades archives

In 2011, Cascades broke ground on one of the most important transactions in its history, investing a half-billion dollars in the Greenpac Mill in the U.S.

Today, Cascades has a workforce of nearly 11,000 employees working in over 95 plants in North America and Europe. Its annual sales top the $4 billion mark. The company continues to grow and exercises sustainable development leadership that is recognized internationally.

clip from Mario Plourde and Alain Lemaire’s interviews, cercle des grands entrepreneurs du québec – only available in french

A FAMILY OF “CASCADERS”

The Lemaire brothers have always been extremely grateful to the people of Kingsey Falls for helping to build and grow the company. Early in Cascades’ history, the Lemaire brothers were pioneers in establishing a profit-sharing program to redistribute a portion of the company’s profits to employees. During the 50th anniversary celebrations in 2014, these “Cascaders” paid tribute to the three founders for establishing a world-class business rooted in strong human values.

clip from Alain Lemaire’s interview, cercle des grands entrepreneurs du québec – only available in french