Investissement Québec (IQ) would find itself with employees nobody wants if it couldn’t pay bonuses, the state-owned company’s CEO Guy LeBlanc claimed yesterday.
Hours after Prime Minister François Legault mentioned the end of performance bonuses “in certain cases of state-owned companies” including Loto-Québec and the SAQ, Mr Leblanc wanted to show his commitment to this variable form of pay.
“If Investissement Québec didn’t have bonuses to attract and retain talent, we would only have people in the financial sector who couldn’t find work,” he told a parliamentary committee.
” The area [de la] Finance is a pay-for-performance environment and it is people who are “driven”. [motivés] based on the results, then it is better to give a slightly lower base fee […] and adjust based on the results,” he said.
The Economy Minister, Pierre Fitzgibbon, present at his side, also believed that the idea introduced by Mr. Legault could not be applied to IQ.
“If you want managers who come from the private market […]I think it’s clear that you have to have market-specific compensation,” he said.
“Like IQs […] competes in a variety of jurisdictions to find customers overseas,” he explained.
In 2020-2021, IQ paid $8.7 million in awards to its employees, up 141% from the previous year. Figures for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which ended March 31, will not be announced until next month.
However, Guy LeBlanc announced yesterday that the total compensation of IQ’s eight highest-paid executives for 2021-2022 had reached nearly $4.5 million. In 2020-2021, seven senior executives shared just over $3.6 million.
The average compensation of each of Investissement Québec’s major leaders reached $559,000 in 2021-2022, an 8.3% increase from the previous year.
Mr. LeBlanc earned $650,000 in 2021-22, up 5.7% from the $615,000 he earned a year earlier.
The director also asserted that he “would have wished” that a Quebec company would acquire La Corne’s lithium mine in Abitibi. It was Australian Sayona and American Piedmont who won the auction.
Specifically, Quebec was looking for a buyer with “a solid, ambitious but realistic business plan” and a “capable, experienced and financially committed management team,” explained Guy LeBlanc.
“Quebec bidders failed to meet several of these criteria,” he argued. Among those who spoke publicly were Benoit La Salle’s SRG Mining and Pierre Gauthier’s Central America Nickel.