His beginnings

RÉMI MARCOUX

Date of birth : July 5, 1940

City : Saint-Elzéar, Beauce

Family : One of 10 children

Rémi Marcoux at HEC’s Graduation ceremony in 1967

Photo credit : Rémi Marcoux's personal archives

From technician to a passion for print

Rémi Marcoux grew up in Beauce with his parents and brothers and sisters. He is the son of a successful entrepreneur who was his role model.

Rémi Marcoux à Saint-Elzéar

In front of the family home in Saint-Elzéar, Beauce, rémi marcoux (second from left) with his brothers and sisters (1950).

photo credit : rémi marcoux's personal archives

As a young man, he worked in his father’s general store where he learned the importance of a job well done, respect for employees and customer satisfaction. These values would stay with him throughout his career.

Besides managing his store, his father, Ulric Marcoux, was involved in the parish school board, politics and the community’s day-to-day life. His mother, Jeanne Blais, managed the general store and helped nurture young Rémi's entrepreneurial spirit. She said, " You’ll be happier just having a small business rather than if you work for someone else."

In 1945, my father opened his own store, which did well. He was a good communicator and a people person. He was open-minded and attuned to the needs of consumers. For example, with electrification, he understood the importance of selling radios, washing machines, appliances, etc. He was a great salesman!

RÉMI MARCOUX

Rémi’s father placed tremendous importance on education. He was convinced it was the best way to develop skills and get ahead in one’s career.

After his studies at Collège de Lévis, Rémi completed grade 12 and technical training in Québec City, where he studied electronics, specializing in high-frequency communications. After completing his studies, he spent a few years working for a cable company and then for the Department of National Defence in Montréal.

Rémi quickly realized that he did not want to be a technician. He decided to enrol in night accounting courses at the École des hautes études commerciales (HEC Montréal). The soon-to-be entrepreneur juggled a full-time job and a heavy academic workload. His studies had a positive effect on him as an entrepreneur.

Rémi Marcoux Groupe Transcontinental

Transcontinental Group is listed on the Montréal Stock Exchange (1985)

Photo credit : Transcontinental archives

Rémi Marcoux et associés

Rémi Marcoux, André Kingsley (centre) and Claude Dubois. (Photo shot in the late 1970s and taken from the 1991 Transcontinental Annual Report.)

Photo credit : Rémi Marcoux's personal archives

Rémi interned at the Montréal-based accounting firm of Thorne, Gunn & Co. (now KPMG), where he was assigned to one of its clients, Québecor, as an auditor intern. Pierre Péladeau took notice of him and recruited him to be a controller. Mr. Péladeau was a great source of inspiration and motivation for Rémi Marcoux. During his seven years at Québecor, he quickly moved up the ranks and learned about the printing, distribution and media industry. He started to dream about starting his own business. In 1975, he left the company to devote himself full time to making his dream a reality.

Rémi Marcoux groupe trans-continental

Soon after the company’s inception, the “G.T.C. Trans-Continental Group” presses were running at full capacity (1980).

Photo credit : Rémi Marcoux's personal archives

That year, he decided to buy Trans-Continental, a print shop in the Saint-Laurent borough of Montréal that had recently closed its doors due to financial difficulties. Trans-Continental was unable to find a buyer because it was saddled with debt and its customers had moved to other printers. Convinced of its potential, the entrepreneur was not put off by the challenge.

Rémi drafted a business plan that he shared with his two partners, Claude Dubois and André Kingsley. He knew that their expertise complemented his own and that as a result, this new venture would be a success. Their plan was to turn the business around by focusing on printing flyers and newspapers. The purchase agreement was signed on December 3, 1975 and Transcontinental reopened its doors on January 12, 1976.

In those first years with Trans-Continental, I had four dollars of debt for every dollar of net worth but I had no trouble sleeping at night. For me, money has never been a factor or a motivator. I told myself that if I put my best foot forward, the money would eventually come. And in the end, that’s exactly what happened.

RÉMI MARCOUX