Financial Executives | The humility of the vice president

The vice-president, finance, of CMAC-Thyssen mining group, Pierre-André Viens, is not chasing the light. Embarrassed that people are interested in him, he emphasizes several times in interviews that his work is not done alone and that he does not have the typical profile of a chief financial officer (CFO). However, his experiences predestined him to the upper echelons of management.

Originally from Amos, he left Abitibi-Témiscamingue 30 years ago to study pure sciences and mining engineering in Quebec, before adding a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in mineral economics.

He then joined Innovatech, a venture capital firm, in addition to obtaining an MBA in finance and teaching economic analysis to future engineers. “In my first session, I taught 437 students, in addition to working. »


Then, his career led him to carry out economic studies of the Raglan Mine, before experiencing an adventure in New Caledonia as a business analyst. Even though he describes the French territory as a paradise archipelago, he became homesick after four years. “When I came back to Canada and visited my parents, I went to have a beer with Ghislain Blanchet, the former president of Innovatech, who was vice-president at CMAC. »

One day, Mr. Viens agreed to go work for him taking care of submissions. “In 2019, when Ghislain retired, I replaced him as vice-president, finance. »

The manager thought he would hold such a position one day, but did not have a specific strategy. “I didn’t wake up in the morning planning to become VP Finance. I let myself be carried away by my experiences and my learning. »

If you want to be a boss too much, this is not the right approach.

Pierre-André Viens, vice-president, finance, CMAC-Thyssen Mining Group

It was CMAC’s values, his interest in the mining world and his love of Abitibi that convinced him to accept the position. In addition to being a director for the group’s companies, he negotiates financing and agreements with indigenous partners. “We have made a lot of progress in recent years. We take care of it, we go to see them, we try to gain their trust and we involve them. »

A dynamic that helps CMAC hire locally. “They can suggest who to hire and who to train. Our goal is to give as many jobs as possible to people in their communities. »

Projects abroad

Also present internationally, the mining group operates in Morocco and Niger, with ambitions in East Africa. “We want to push into French-speaking Africa where we have a great advantage over large English-speaking mining entrepreneurs. »

With the members of his team, he is developing a structure abroad and numerous Canadian projects directly from Northwestern Quebec. “Our biggest clients are in Abitibi, so it’s advantageous to have our offices here. I go to Montreal regularly to maintain good relations with our financial partners and our clients. »

If videoconferencing allows you to avoid some travel, he believes that in-person meetings are quite beneficial for traveling, despite the challenges. “Flight schedules are difficult, flights are often canceled and it’s expensive. But I have no problem driving to Montreal. » This allows him to strengthen the links of the company whose turnover exceeds 100 million dollars.


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