Laurent Beaudoin does not look like a man who has just retired. He is sitting in his spacious office overlooking downtown Montreal, wearing a dark blue suit with a yellow silk tie cinched tightly around his neck. He flashes a wry smile at the notion of free time.
Certainly, the 70-year-old has had little of that during his 45 years with Bombardier Inc. (TSX: BBD.B), more than 35 of which he spent as president and CEO. He should eventually have more opportunities to relax now that he’s stepped down from those roles, although he will stay on as non-executive chairman. Beaudoin handed the job to his son, Pierre, at the company’s annual meeting in June. His final speech as CEO was more or less a dry recitation of earnings and corporate platitudes, but it was nonetheless an emotional experience for Beaudoin. “A lot of memories come back to you and make you realize it went so fast,” he says of his more than four decades at the company. “But you have to face it — it’s time for you to pull back.”