Marc Parent is a French-Canadian business executive, mechanical engineer and philanthropist. He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of CAE, formerly known as Canadian Aviation Electronics, a Canadian manufacturer of flight simulation technologies.
Marc Parent was born February 5, 1961, in Verdun, Quebec. At the age of 12, he joined the 51st Air Cadet Squadron in Ottawa but later switched to the 783rd Air Cadet Squadron in Montreal. He obtained his pilot’s license through the Air Cadets at age 17 and was an Air Cadet for six years.
In 1984, Parent graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Polytechnique Montreal, an engineering school affiliated with the Université de Montréal in Montreal, Quebec. Parent also completed an Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.
Parent began his career in 1984 as an aerospace engineer with Canadair, a civil and military aircraft manufacturer in Canada. He began with the Challenger and Canadair Regional Jet programs and continued with them after Canadair was sold to Bombardier by the Mulroney Government in 1986. In 1987, Parent became Manager of the Challenger’s mechanical systems. Three years later, he was tasked with setting up Bombardier’s flight testing and certification center in Wichita, Kansas. In 1993, he was promoted to Project Director for the Challenger 604, then he was put in charge of the De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 program. In 1998, he was promoted to Bombardier’s Vice President, program management. From 2000 to 2004, Parent held various executive-level positions with Bombardier: Vice President, Operations for Bombardier’s De Havilland facility in Toronto; Vice President and General Manager of Operations for the De Havilland facility; Vice President and General Manager of U.S. operations; and finally Vice President and General Manager of the Challenger 300, Challenger 604, 850/870 and CRJ-200 aircraft programs. Parent ended his 20-year career with Bombardier when he joined CAE in February 2005 as Group President, Simulation Products. At the time, CAE was struggling financially and Parent was hired to fix the situation. In 2006, he was promoted to Group President, Simulation Products and Military Training & Services for CAE. Two years later, he was promoted again to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of CAE. When CAE’s Chief Executive Officer Robert E. Brown retired in August 2009, CAE’s Board of Directors appointed Parent as the new leader of the company.
As President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of CAE, Parent’s total compensation is $7,423,460 (Canadian). Parent has an estimated net worth of $75 million.
Under Parent’s leadership, CAE became the first carbon-neutral Canadian aerospace company and in January 2020 CAE was voted one of Montreal’s Top Employers. Parent serves on the boards of Telus, a Canadian multinational publicly traded holding company and conglomerate, which is the parent company of Telus Communications, Telus Mobility, Telus Health, and Telus International; the McGill University Health Centre Foundation; and the Business Council of Canada. From 2008 to 2010, he chaired the Board of Aero Montreal, Quebec’s Aerospace Cluster, and was a past board member and chair for the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada. In 2012, as an alumnus, Parent received an honorary degree from Polytechnique Montreal. Parent also served on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Canadian Association of Defence and Securities Industries.