She moves from McKinsey to Minister Fitzgibbon's office
MISE À DAY
Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon has hired an employee of the influential consulting firm McKinsey who had just worked on a contract he had awarded without a call for tenders, learned our Bureau of investigation.
In July 2021, the Minister awarded a $4.7 million contract to McKinsey. The contract, offered by mutual agreement, required special authorization from the Treasury Board.
Objective: “to analyze measures to stimulate Quebec's economic growth” in order to close Quebec's wealth gap with other comparable states.
Among the McKinsey employees assigned to the mandate was Jeanne Olivier, a recent Harvard graduate in economics. She had worked in the consulting firm since August 2019, notably as a business analyst.
The mandate of a few months at McKinsey ended on December 17, 2021. However, the following month, Minister Fitzgibbon's cabinet has hired Jeanne Olivier as a policy advisor to his cabinet.
Thus, Ms. Olivier worked on the contract given by the minister, just before jumping the fence to join his bodyguard. She is also the daughter of François Olivier and Isabelle Marcoux, who ran Transcontinental while Mr. Fitzgibbon was a director from 2009 to 2017.
< p>“It gives this feeling of unease. It is true that the business world is small, but where it becomes embarrassing is that it is a public charge and that the interests of Quebecers [must take precedence]”, estimates Ivan Tchotourian, professor of business law. business and corporate social responsibility at Laval University.
Close to the Minister
As part of his employment at the cabinet of Pierre Fitzgibbon, Jeanne Olivier notably accompanied the Minister during an economic mission to Israel in March 2022. She left her job in August 2022 to study for a master's degree.
“McKinsey is a sizeable firm with the means to influence decisions made at the highest levels of states. That's where it gets a bit dangerous,” says Mr. Tchotourian. employees,” he adds.
The work of New York Times journalistsseems to support the concerns raised by Professor Tchotourian. In a punchy book published in October, the authors suggest that McKinsey likes to take advantage of the position of its former employees.
“Leaving McKinsey is not shameful. […] McKinsey knows that by sprinkling the business world with its former employees, it can obtain new customers in return”, can we read in the book When McKinsey Comes to Town: The Influence hidden from the most powerful consulting firm in the world.
McKinsey declined to comment.
— With Philippe Langlois and Marie Christine Trottier.
Hired at the request of the chief of staff
Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon sees no point in directly recruiting a former McKinsey employee, who was also involved in an important contract that he awarded himself.
As proof: it was even her chief of staff who convinced Ms. Olivier to submit her candidacy for the post of political adviser.
“Ms. Olivier worked on the mandate given to McKinsey by the Ministry of Economy. This is how she was spotted and approached. We are proud of it,” says Mathieu St-Amand, director of communications for the firm.
McKinsey has been the subject of much ink over the past few months, particularly for the millions of dollars in contracts it has received during the pandemic. In Ottawa, a parliamentary inquiry has been set up to examine the federal contracts offered to the company.
Despite McKinsey's reputation, Mr. St-Amand specified that “no particular measure has been put in place” to avoid possible influence from the American multinational, “and rightly so”.
“Offering talented young people a stint in a law firm makes part of our mission. The minister is always looking to hire the best talent available,” he adds.
According to ethics expert Ivan Tchotourian, Mr. Fitzgibbon should have, at the very least, “become aware” of the potential influence of the megafirm and done “a little more than not enough” in terms of transparency.  ;
“What I find dangerous is if you give the feeling that there is [no possible influence at stake]. The questioning of ethics seems to have been forgotten if no specific solution was considered in the case of this hiring, “he says.
According to the professor of governance at UQAM Michel Séguin, recruiting an employee from a consulting firm and integrating her into its day-to-day activities is a common thing.
“Now, will this employee encourage the hiring of the firm subsequent contracts? There is definitely a risk,” he said.
The minister's office added that all cabinet employees have a code of ethics to follow.
Do you have a scoop to send us?
Do you have something to tell us about this story?
Do you have a scoop that our readers might be interested in?
Email us at or call us directly at 1 800-63SCOOP.