Jean Coutu

Founder, Jean Coutu Group

Jean Coutu founded the Canadian drugstore chain of the same name – Jean Coutu Group. In 2017, Coutu agreed to sell the publicly-traded company to European supermarket giant Metro for $4.5 billion in cash and stock.

Early life

Jean Coutu was the son of a pediatrician and family doctor that operated in a working-class district in Montreal. He undertook medical studies before he branched out and earned his pharmacy degrees from the Universite De Montreal from 1940-1953.


While still a student, Coutu became the manager of Pharmacie Leduc. After graduation, he and five young colleagues wanted to become associates, but the Leduc family refused them. He went on to purchase three more drugstores, but when he attempted to open a fourth under his own name, he was blocked from doing so. He contested the by-laws of Quebec College of Pharmacists, having the laws amended with the aid of the Lesage government. He finally opened his first pharmacy, which had extended business hours, which he staked all of his savings on.

The company was incorporated in 1973 under the name Services Farmico, after five branches already existing in the Montreal area. The name was changed 13-years later to the Jean Coutu Group Inc. and was put on the stock exchange. In 1982, it entered the New Brunswick market and the Ontario market in 1983.

Coutu was the chief executive until 2002 and then again from 2005 to 2007. He grew The Jean Coutu Group by acquiring many of his competitors. The company was once a leading shareholder of U.S. drug store operator, Rite Aid, but sold the last of its stake in 2013.

Net Worth

According to Forbes, Jean Coutu’s net worth is valued at: 3.2 billion


Coutu was ranked by Forbes as the 22nd wealthiest Canadian and 938th wealthiest person in the world.
In 1993, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and an Officer of the National Order of Quebec.
Coutu founded the Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation which mainly supports numerous causes such as poverty, women and child abuse, education, and the fight against drug addiction in Canada.
In 2000, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem highlighted his patronage.
He was in charge of workplace reorganization at the Québec Economic Summit (1996), sat on some dozen boards of directors, and received many honorary distinctions including the Order of Québec (1993) and the Order of Canada (1994).