Samuel Robinson, Chairman
Samuel Robinson is Managing Partner and President at Sagard Capital. He also serves as Vice-President of Power Corporation of Canada and as a board member of certain Sagard portfolio companies, including IntegraMed Fertility, Vein Clinics of America and GP Strategies (NYSE:GPX).
Samuel joined Sagard and Power in 2016 after an 18 year career at Goldman Sachs, during which he served in a variety of positions, including Chief Administrative Officer and Head of Strategy for the global Investment Banking Division, Chief Operating Officer of the firm’s emerging markets businesses and Asia Chief of Staff. He joined the firm in 1996 as a financial institutions investment banker.
Samuel has significant experience in strategy, business operations, M&A, capital raising and in working closely with leaders to maximize their own strategic and operational impact.
He holds a M.A. and a M.Phil., both from Christ Church, Oxford.
Samuel is a dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom and lives in New York. He serves on the Development Board of Christ Church and on the U.S. Board of the Cambodian Childrens’ Fund.
Mr. Desmarais is Managing Partner and Executive Chairman at Sagard Capital.
He was appointed Vice-President at Power Corporation and Power Financial in May 2014. Prior to his current position, he worked in the Risk Management Group of Great-West Lifeco beginning in 2012. Previously, he worked in project management and corporate strategy at Imerys in France. He began his career with Goldman Sachs, in the Investment Banking Division, Investment Strategy Group, as well as in the Special Situations Group.
In May 2014, Mr. Desmarais was named a director of Great-West Life, Investors Group, Mackenzie, Pargesa and Groupe Bruxelles Lambert. In 2016 he was named Chairman of Wealthsimple and Vice-Chairman of Imerys.
Mr. Desmarais is the recipient of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Harvard College (graduating cum laude) and he holds a Masters in Business Administration from INSEAD in France.
Mr. Pfenniger is an experienced executive with significant experience in the life science, healthcare and education fields. He is also an accomplished lawyer who began his career in public accounting.
Most recently, Mr. Pfenniger served as Interim Chief Executive Officer of Vein Clinics of America, Inc. (from May 2014 to February 2015). VCA is the largest medical group in the United States specializing exclusively in the treatment of vein disease. Also, in 2013, Mr. Pfenniger served as the Interim Chief Executive Officer of IntegraMed America, Inc.
Previously, Mr. Pfenniger served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and President and Chief Executive Officer of Continucare Corporation from 2003 until its acquisition by Metropolitan Health, Inc. in 2011 for $416 million. Continucare was a provider of primary care physician services. During Mr. Pfenniger’s term as CEO, Continucare’s share price increased approximately 10 fold.
Prior to joining Continucare, Mr. Pfenniger served as Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of Whitman Education Group, Inc. for six years until Whitman Education was acquired by Career Education Corporation in 2003 for $230 million. Whitman Education was a leading provider of career-oriented higher education. Whitman Education’s share price increased approximately 350%.
Prior to his tenure at Whitman Education, Mr. Pfenniger was an executive officer of IVAX Corporation, serving as Chief Operating Officer from 1994 to 1997 and as its Senior Vice President – Legal Affairs and General Counsel from 1989 to 1994.
Before joining IVAX, Mr. Pfenniger was engaged in the private practice of law in Miami, Florida with his practice focused primarily on business transactions. He began his career in accounting, as a certified public accountant working for Price Waterhouse.
Mr. Pfenniger currently serves as a director on the boards of OPKO Health, Inc. (a pharmaceutical and medical diagnostic company), TransEnterix, Inc. (a medical device company), GP Strategies, Inc. (a corporate training and performance improvement company), and BioCardia, Inc. (a clinical-stage regenerative medicine company).
Hans Thunem has an extensive history in guiding Private Equity-owned organizations through transformational changes that culminate in successful transactions.
As CEO of the US retail healthcare business Vein Clinics of America (2015-2018), Mr. Thunem led a turnaround that saw the company move from negative earnings to strongly positive earnings while driving 20%+ top-line growth, ultimately leading to a successful sale of the business to new Private Equity owners.
As CEO of the global CRO Harlan Laboratories (2010 to 2014), Mr. Thunem stabilized a company that was near bankruptcy during the most challenging market in the history of the pre-clinical research industry, ultimately leading a successful sale of the business to a strategic buyer.
Prior to Harlan Labs, Mr. Thunem led the carve-out of a Canadian Diagnostic Services business from a publicly-traded company. Under his leadership (2005-2008) the business increased earnings by 55%, leading to a $1.3 billion take-private transaction to new Pension Fund owners. He continued to lead the business as CEO and member of the Board of Directors for 18 months post-transaction, fully establishing the new stand-alone company under the brand name “LifeLabs.”
From 1995 to 2000, Mr. Thunem assumed the operational leadership of a small high-technology business unit at Nortel Networks. Through portfolio diversification and strategic R&D investments, this electronic components business launched numerous new products in the fiber-optic and wireless space and ultimately grew 35-fold ($25M to $900M) in a very profitable manner over a 5-year period.
Mr. Thunem spent the formative years of his career in the petroleum industry, working for Suncor, Oil Sands Group in Fort McMurray, Alberta, and for Petro-Canada in Calgary, Alberta.
Mr. Thunem graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Life Sciences. He holds a Master’s Degree in Occupational and Environmental Health from the University of Toronto.