Corporate Director, Business Development
Transat A.T. Inc. (Montreal)
Jacques Marchand joined Transat in 2006, after eight years with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. The way this expert in business development sees it, Transat offers the best of both worlds: “It’s an international-scale company that’s looking to expand its operations, but it has hung onto that entrepreneurial spirit that characterizes small businesses. At Transat, taking risks is rewarded.”
In an industry in the midst of change, often buffeted by economic fluctuations as well as the vagaries of nature, risk is omnipresent. “These difficult conditions, however, often mean opportunities for Transat,” says Jacques, who is constantly on the lookout for potential acquisitions and development projects that can help the company achieve the strategic objectives that it sets every three years. For example, it was Jacques who orchestrated the launch of our Mexico-based business unit, Eleva Travel.
“To stay competitive in the tourism game, it’s not enough to build on what a company is already doing: you have to lead that company to diversify, and move into the niches that will matter in the future,” he observes. To that end, Jacques travels often to check out promising companies, using his negotiating skills to convince them to join Transat. “Transat always seeks to retain a company’s existing human resources, because we know that the value of a tourism company resides above all in the individuals who make it up.”
To close deals, Jacques calls upon resources from the various Transat departments. His teams comprise between five and 15 people, and may work for anywhere from three to six months on a project in addition to accomplishing their usual tasks. “It isn’t always easy to manage things, but I’m lucky in that I get to know new people, which gives me a better grasp of the needs and issues of the various Transat business units. This in turn gives me a good sense of the big picture, and that’s priceless.”