The appointment of Marie Grégoire as CEO of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales (BAnQ) does not go like a letter in the mail. Two criticisms are made to him, that is to say not to have made a career in librarianship and to correspond to the very caricature of a partisan appointment. Critics fail to consider its qualities and the contribution it can make to the transformation of the institution.
While rumors grew on the shadow of the start of a political intervention by the Legault government to entrust the post to Marie Grégoire, BAnQ administrators have leaks some information in The duty. From reliable sources, our journalist Catherine Lalonde has learned that the council has given its approval to the appointment of the communicator and former member of the Democratic Action of Quebec (the ancestor of the CAQ).
Mme Grégoire made a good impression in an interview with the committee made up of three board members. She stood out from the three other aspirants for her vision of the future of BAnQ, an institution hit by the erosion of its funding and the high demands of digital transformation.
A cultural institution of such importance is naturally devoted to criticism and scrutiny of its activities. This reflection around BAnQ is all the more desirable as it is going through a difficult period. Its $ 52.2 million operating grant, 81% funded by the Quebec government, has declined in constant dollars as the challenges of digitizing collections are greater than ever.
A strategic diagnosis carried out by the firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton recently revealed that the weight of current and future deficits was compromising BAnQ’s digital shift. If nothing changes in its funding structure and operating model, the cultural institution will accumulate an overall deficit of $ 34 million by 2025, and possibly $ 50 million if it goes ahead with the projects and investments required for digitization.
Yes, the cultural community is right to be both critical and worried, but not to the point of elevating rumors of political interference to the rank of truth while Mr.me Grégoire did not even take the helm of the ship.
Some believe that only a career librarian could reach the highest office, such as the head librarian of Concordia University, Guylaine Beaudry, approached for the position.
Without taking anything away from M’s candidacyme Beaudry is not knowing the extent of a CEO’s responsibilities. In any company or institution, he or she is responsible for strategic orientations, he is the guardian of the mission and values, ambassador in relations with private and government partners, the chief mobilizer, the spokesperson and main representative in the public arena, the innovator, the responsible manager, etc.
This list of qualities, which is not exhaustive, was also part of the descriptor of the Secretariat for Senior Jobs for the post of CEO of BAnQ. Let us now examine Marie Grégoire’s career in the light of these requirements. She chaired the founding convention of the ADQ in addition to being part of the first batch of ADQ elected officials to the National Assembly. She did political analysis and commentary in all written and electronic forums after her retirement from politics. She participated in the founding of a communication agency, TACT Intelligence-conseil. The fact that she is a little more to the right of the political spectrum than to the left does not detract from her communication skills and her entrepreneurial profile.
BAnQ is inevitably preparing to knock on the doors of the Quebec government to obtain increased funding, while also exploring new avenues to find “new sources of independent revenue,” says the job descriptor. Marie Grégoire’s experience in politics, lobbying and communication, her integrity, as well as her detailed knowledge of Caquist thought will be assets and not balls. The Minister of Culture and Communications, Nathalie Roy, will hardly be able to ignore her requests without giving the impression of a contradiction. The act of appointing Marie Grégoire at the head of BAnQ creates expectations that she will benefit from the financial levers to accomplish her mandate.
Marie Grégoire’s inexperience in library science, information science and document management is a major gap. This was one of the 11 selection criteria for the committee, and it is unthinkable that she could learn from a corner of the table such sophisticated knowledge in the performance of her duties. Any honest CEO will tell you that they don’t have the skill set required to run a business. The secret is knowing how to surround yourself.
Expertise in librarianship and information science is fundamental to BAnQ’s sustainability. In this regard, Marie Grégoire will have to entrust responsibilities and autonomy to qualified people around her. It is on this basis that we will be able to judge the appropriateness of his appointment. Until then, let’s at least give him a chance to grow in office.
The Canadian News
Canada’s largets news curation site with over 20+ agency partners