We learned last week of the death of Jean de Grandpré, who died the previous weekend at the age of 100 years. A pioneer in the world of telecommunications in Canada, he played a major role in the creation of Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE). He was also an important leader in the business and telecommunications community.
De Grandpré joined Bell in 1966 as legal counsel, and throughout the years, he climbed the management ladder until he was appointed president and chief executive officer as well as chairman of the Board in 1976.
It was in that position that he became one of the founding fathers of BCE in 1983. At the head of Bell, he was able to steer the company through a period of major changes such as the advent of mobile telephone services, the beginnings of the widespread use of fibre optics and the rise of the personal computer.
De Grandpré was recognized for his mentorship of future Bell leaders. He often said that “it’s the people who make the company”. A Companion of the Order of Canada, he was also Chancellor Emeritus of McGill University, a lifetime member of the Canadian Bar Association and a member of the Bar of Quebec. His life and work are recounted in a biography entitled L’héritage d’un géant, published in 2019.
“I am saddened by the passing of Mr. de Grandpré, who was a great role model and an inspiration for myself and for many of us in the telecommunications industry,” said Mirko Bibic, president and CEO of BCE and Bell. “On behalf of the entire Bell team, I extend our deepest sympathies to Mr. de Grandpré’s family, friends and everyone who had the great privilege of knowing him.”