October 3, 2008
The official opening of the 21st Entretiens Jacques Cartier, on October 5, will be a very special event, since it will be marked by a joint ceremony by seven Montréal university-level institutions – a real first, at which seven individuals from the Rhône-Alpes region will receive honorary doctorates. During this ceremony, to be attended by Premier Jean Charest and the Mayors of Montréal and Lyon, Gérald Tremblay and Gérard Collomb, on the parquet floor of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, HEC Montréal will be awarding an honorary doctorate to Alain Mérieux, President of bioMérieux.
Mr. Mérieux, a graduate of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in Lyon and of the Harvard Business School, founded BD Mérieux in 1963, later renamed bioMérieux in 1974. With its 38 subsidiaries in over 150 pays, including a Canadian subsidiary in Montréal, and annual sales of 1 billion euros, the company is among the 10 leading firms worldwide in the field of in vitro diagnoses.
Alain Mérieux, the grandson of Marcel Mérieux, founder of the Mérieux Institute and himself a student of Louis Pasteur, always wanted to continue and expand on his grandfather’s work, and that of his father, Charles Mérieux, who was involved in creating the Centre Jacques Cartier. Alain Mérieux directed the firm from 1968 to 1994, making it a world leader in human vaccines and veterinary medicine.
Mr. Mérieux is also involved in his community. From 1986 to 1998, he served as Senior Vice-Chair of the Conseil régional Rhône-Alpes, and as such was in charge of international relations and economic development, research and higher education. In addition, as part of his humanitarian commitment, he chairs the Fondation Mérieux, which works in developing countries to boost resistance to infectious diseases.
Today he heads up the Mérieux Alliance, an umbrella group bringing together five international concerns – bioMérieux, Transgène, Silliker, ABL and Shanta – with activities covering the entire health field, from prevention to diagnosis, prognosis, immunotherapy and clinical follow-up. He is intent on passing the reins to the next generation, as were his predecessors, and is grooming his son Alexandre (HEC BBA 1999) for the responsibility.