Telecommunications pioneer Jean de Grandpré dies

We learned last week of the death of Jean de Grandpré, who died the previous weekend at the age of 100. 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 business and telecommunications.

Jean de Grandpré, founding director and chairman emeritus of BCE Inc. (1983). Credit CNW Group/Bell Canada

De Grandpré joined Bell in 1966 as legal counsel and over the years rose through the management ranks until he was named President and Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. of directors in 1976.

It was in this position that he became one of the founding fathers of BCE in 1983. As head of Bell, he was able to lead the company through a period of major changes such as the advent of mobile telephony, the beginnings of the widespread use of fiber 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 life member of the Canadian Bar Association and a member of the Barreau du Québec. His life and work are recounted in a biography entitled The Legacy of a Giantpublished in 2019.

“I am saddened by the passing of Mr. de Grandpré, who was a great role model and inspiration to me and to many of us in the telecommunications industry,” said Mirko Bibic, President and Chief of the management of BCE and Bell. “On behalf of the entire Bell team, I offer our most sincere condolences to Mr. de Grandpré’s family, friends and all those who had the great privilege of knowing him.