Sharp drop in profits at Hydro Quebec

Salaries and bonuses for Hydro-Québec's big bosses are rising

Executive compensation at Hydro-Québec rose nearly 6% last year, largely due to increases in bonuses and base salaries.

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Sophie Brochu, who left her role as CEO in April, earned more than $751,000, including a performance bonus of nearly $307,000 (granted for fiscal 2022).

Claudine Bouchard, who has held the key role of chief operating officer since October, received total compensation of more than $841,000 in 2023. Her base salary rose 10% to $517,000.

Michael Sabia, CEO of Hydro-Québec since August 1st.

Claudine Bouchard Photo Martin Jolicoeur

Two financial bosses

One of Hydro's highest-paid executives is now Maxime Aucoin, who took up his role as vice president of strategies and finance in October. This former head of the Caisse de dépôt receives a base salary of $570,000.

Mr. Aucoin took over positions previously held by Pierre Despars and Jean-Hugues Lafleur. Mr. Despars left Hydro-Québec in September, but Mr. Lafleur remains employed as chief financial officer at the state-owned company.

Michael Sabia, CEO of Hydro-Québec since August 1st.

Maxime Aucoin Photo Hydro-Québec

Michael Sabia, who has been at the helm of Hydro since August 1, is entitled to a base salary of $639,000, 4% more than what Ms. Brochu was paid in 2022. Last year, he received total compensation of more than $260,000 for five months of work.

Therefore, in 2023, Hydro-Québec paid a total of $4.32 million to the eight people who held the company's top five leadership positions. That's 5.9% more than the $4.08 million spent on five people in 2022.

Absent administrators

As for the board, the 21 members who served on it in 2023 received total compensation of more than $799,000. New CEO Manon Brouillette's base salary is $195,000, nearly three times that of her predecessor, Jacynthe Côté.

Michael Sabia, CEO of Hydro-Québec since August 1st.

Manon Brouillette Photo Hydro-Québec

The council held 16 meetings last year, compared to 11 in 2022. This notable increase appears to have led to a reduction in meeting attendance. Three directors missed four or more meetings: Luc Doyon, Claude Tessier and Marie-Josée Morency.

Mr Tessier resigned in December, more than two years before the end of his term. He now sits on the board of engineering firm WSP Global, a major water supplier.

Expenses are rising sharply

Hydro's expenses rose 7% in 2023, while revenue fell 2.9% to just over $16 billion. The decline is mainly due to the decline in electricity sales abroad due to low rainfall in northern Quebec.

Operating expenses rose 7.5% to $4.1 billion.

“The increase is due, among other things, to the expansion of activities to improve service quality and reliability, in particular through the increase in maintenance and repair work,” explains the state-owned company in its annual report.

Hydro employed 22,806 people as of December 31, 3.4% more than a year earlier.

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