Laurent Beaudoin was born in Laurier Station, Québec, in 1938. After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sainte-Anne College in Nova Scotia, Mr. Beaudoin went on to complete a Master of commerce degree at Université de Sherbrooke. He is a Chartered Accountant and a Fellow of the Ordre des comptables agréés.
He launched his career in Québec City in 1961 by founding a firm of chartered accountant, Beaudoin & Blais, soon followed by a second firm, Beaudoin, Morin, Dufresne & Associés. He joined L’Auto-Neige Bombardier in 1963 as Comptroller, became General Manager in 1964 and President and CEO in 1966. When he joined the company, it manufactured snowmobiles that had been designed and commercialized by Joseph-Armand Bombardier, the company founder. Mr. Beaudoin subsequently guided Bombardier’s growth and diversification, at first into rail transportation and later into aerospace. In June 2008, Mr. Beaudoin handed over to his son his responsibilities as chief executive officer, and remained as Chairman of the Board.
Mr. Beaudoin holds honorary doctorates from the following universities: Université de Montréal (Québec); York University (Toronto); in Business Administration from Université de Sherbrooke (Québec); in Economics from the University of Sainte-Anne (Nova Scotia); in Civil Law from Bishop’s University (Québec); in Science from Queen’s University, Belfast (Northern Ireland); in Law from the University of Toronto; in Engineering from Carleton University (Ottawa); in Law from McGill University in Montreal (Québec); and in Commerce from Concordia University in Montréal (Québec). He is a Companion of the Order of Canada and an Officer of l’Ordre national du Québec.
In April 1991, Mr. Beaudoin received the Canadian Business Leader Award from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Administration.
In September 1991, Mr. Beaudoin co-chaired the organization Regroupement Économie et Constitution and, in December, he was named CEO of the Year by The Financial Post and The Caldwell Partners. On April 30, 1992, Mr. Beaudoin was honoured as Canada’s International Executive of the Year by the International Chamber of Commerce. In October 1992, Mr. Beaudoin was inducted into the World Trade Hall of Fame by the World Trade Institute and the Greater Los Angeles World Trade Center Association.
On February 24, 1994, Mr. Beaudoin was named Aerospace Personality of the Year by the United Kingdom’s magazine Flight International and, on April 13, 1994, he received the 1993 Laureate Award in Aeronautics/Propulsion from Aviation Week & Space Technology Magazine. On May 9, 1995, Mr. Beaudoin received the C.D. Howe Award from the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute. On May 8, 1996, he received the 1996 Canadian Business Leadership Award from the Harvard Business Club of Toronto. As well, on April 3, 1997, Mr. Beaudoin received the 1997 Canadian Business Hall of Fame Award from Junior Achievement of Canada. On June 12, 1997, he was awarded the Prix de Carrière1997 by the Conseil du Patronat du Québec. On October 26, 1997, he was named Personality of the Year during the Gala Excellence La Presse held in Montréal. On June 4, 1998, Mr. Beaudoin received the International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Management. On December 4, 1998, Bombardier was given the Entreprise du siècle au Québec Award by Revue Commerce. In May 1999, Mr. Beaudoin was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in Winnipeg, Manitoba and, on September 3, he was awarded the Golden Emblem of Merit from the Provincial Government of Upper Austria. On June 1, 2000, Bombardier was awarded the Visions 2000 – Grande entreprise by the Chambre de commerce du Québec. On October 18, 2000, Mr. Beaudoin received the Lifetime Achievement Award through the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2000 program in Québec, Canada. On January 25, 2001, Mr. Beaudoin was awarded the Golden Honorary Medal for Duties to the City of Vienna by The City of Vienna. In August 2005, he received the Aguila Azteca Award from the President of Mexico. On May 25, 2006, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation presented him with the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Beaudoin also received in October 2007 the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship awarded by the Canada Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, based in Washington, D.C. In January 2011, Mr. Beaudoin was inducted into the Living Legends of Aviation.
He is Chairman of the Board of Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. and of FIRST Robotics Québec, which he co-founded.