Marcel A. Desautels - Biography

Marcel A. Desautels B.A., LL.B., LL.M., C.A.E., F.C.I., LL.D., C.M.

MarcelA Manitoban, Dr. Marcel A. Desautels is widely recognized as a leader and an early visionary thinker in the financial services industry. Born in St. Boniface, he graduated from le Collège Universitaire de Saint-Boniface with a Bachelor of Arts (Lat. Ph.) in 1955. In 1959 and 1965 respectively, he received Bachelor of Law and Master of Law degrees from the University of Manitoba. He was appointed an Honorary Life Member of the Manitoba Law Society in 2000.

After successful private law practice in Winnipeg, he held senior positions in government and industry until 1970, when he became President and General Manager of Creditel of Canada Limited with its Head Office in Toronto. Under his leadership, Creditel grew into the largest business credit information and debt recovery organization serving some 12,000 companies across Canada. Dr. Desautels also organized and chaired major professional conferences for the credit management industry in cities across Canada and the United States, including bringing 3,200 delegates together for the 4th International Congress in Toronto. He is a highly sought after public speaker here and abroad, and has been called upon as a key advisor and negotiator by both industry and government.

Dr. Desautels has long held an interest in the field of professional and post-secondary education. He served on the National Council of the Credit Institute of Canada as a Director for 15 years. The Institute is closely affiliated with several Canadian Universities, and offers four-year professional designation courses in the field of credit management. In 1984, in recognition of his many years of service to the credit and financial management profession in Canada, he was awarded the highest honour of the Credit Institute of Canada confers when he was named a Fellow of the Credit Institute, F.C.I.

In 1996, with proceeds from the sale of Creditel, he established the Canadian Credit Management Foundation, with the purpose of funding innovative new programs at Canadian Universities. A partial list of gifts includes:

  • $1 million to the University of Manitoba for fellowships in Finance at the I.H. Asper School of Business.
  • $5 million to the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law to establish the Marcel A. Desautels Centre for Private Enterprise and the Law.
  • $1 million to establish a scholarship endowment at Collège Universitaire de Saint-Boniface.
  • $1 million to provide scholarships at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
  • $40 million to date in additional gifts to advance the Rotman School’s stated goal of becoming one of the ten largest and best faculties of management in the world.
  • $33 million in total to McGill University for new courses and programs at the Marcel Desautels Centre for Integrated Management at the Desautels Faculty of Management.
  • $20 million to the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba for student and faculty research support, and for new facilities.

Marcel A. Desautels is a 9th generation Canadian. His roots go back to 1653 when le Sieur de Maisonneuve returned to France to recruit more colonists for Ville-Marie. Pierre Desautels, Marcel’s ancestor, was one of the 100 or so who formed “la grande recrue de 1653” which is widely recognized as being the group that truly founded Ville-Marie. In the mid nineteenth-century, both of Marcel’s great grandparents homesteaded in Western Canada as they had very large families and could not survive on the small farms in Quebec.

Marcel’s deep roots have shaped his strong commitment to the support and advancement of students through gifts to post-secondary education. In 2009, he became a member of the Order of Canada, our country’s highest civilian honour. In 2012, he was also honoured with the Order of Ontario. In addition to Marcel’s many professional achievements, we are especially proud and honoured that our Faculty’s benefactor is also a gifted and passionate musician.

gala 2008
September 2008, Winnipeg Convention Centre. Marcel A. Desautels rehearses with dean Edmund Dawe for a performance at the annual Faculty of Music Homecoming Gala Concert

October 2011, U of M Bannatyne Campus: Celebrating Inner-City Community Connections. L-R: Marcel A. Desautels, Dean Edmund Dawe, professor Judy Kehler Siebert.

order of ontario
January 2012: Marcel (C) receives the Order of Ontario. Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Right Honourable David Onley

desautelsJune 2013:  Celebrating Marcel A. Desautels' Birthday at the U of M.