Claude Bergeron began his career as a commercial litigation lawyer and subsequently directed his practice towards transactional business with investment banks, private equity and private companies. At the same time, Claude served as legal advisor to companies such as Industries Lassonde, Culinar, LGL/SNC, Steinberg, various subsidiaries including Smithy’s Arizona, Metra Altex Aluminum, Pomerleau Construction, and institutions or investment companies such as SITQ, Investissements Novacap Inc. and the Business Development Bank of Canada. In addition, he helped foreign companies to establish themselves in Canada and the United States, including Lyonnaise des Eaux S.A., Thompson S.A., Alain Manoukian, Groupe Yves Rocher, Bouygues Construction, Simon Mahier and Groupe Le Duff.
In 1997, Claude created the Venture Capital group, whose expertise extends to the life sciences and high technology. His team has been involved in more than 150 investment transactions in Canada and in the U.S. The venture capital sector of Lapointe Rosenstein serves many institutions and venture capital companies in Canada, the United States and France, in particular: Capital CDPQ, CDP Capital Technologies, GemChem Technologies, the Business Development Bank of Canada, Société Innovatech du Grand Montréal, Investissement Desjardins, RBC Financial Group, Société Générale de financement du Québec, Siparex SA, T2C2, TechnoCap, Anthem Capital LP, GTI Capital Inc., Investissements Novacap Inc., Working Venture Investor Limited Partnership, Caisse de dépôt et consignation de France and Thompson Ventures of France.
During this same period, Claude executed numerous private and public financings for biotechnology and high-tech companies, including DSM Pharmaceuticals and Prométic. With an excellent reputation for his expertise in the life sciences sector, Claude worked as a strategic advisor on behalf of Québec institutions such as the Institut de recherche en biotechnologie de Montréal, the Centre de recherche de Saint-Hyacinthe, Université Laval, and Université du Québec à Montréal. Finally, he served as a special advisor to the SEPEQ program with the ministère du Revenu.
From 1985 to 2004, he carried out business transactions in more than 20 countries while remaining very active In the Canadian and U.S. markets.
Between 1999 and 2002, as a transaction advisor, Claude completed, on behalf of CDPQ, the SGF and various European companies, several sales and merger transactions of companies in their portfolios. His main achievements included the sale of RTP Pharma to Elan Pharmaceuticals and a major Bio-Inova transaction carried out as part of a merger with an American company.
Through 25 years of experience working with entrepreneurs, company founders, managers of large or medium-sized corporations or institutions, operators, financiers and members of boards of directors, Claude has gained exceptional experience in understanding the fundamentals of leadership, management, finance and entrepreneurship.
A transaction carried out in 2002 on behalf of Groupe Le Duff, namely the acquisition of a large restaurant chain in the United States, La Madeleine, in Dallas, Texas, led to Claude becoming a co-investor and board of directors member. This was followed in 2005 by the creation of a partnership with Louis Le Duff, founder of Groupe Le Duff. In 2005, Claude officially became Chairman of the Board and CEO of the newly formed Groupe Le Duff America, and focused on the expansion and management of the Group’s activities, which he led from 2005 to 2016.
During this period, Claude maintained relations with the law firm, but devoted himself to his new duties as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the North American activities of Groupe Le Duff. From his Montreal base (Bridor Canada), and Dallas (La Madeleine), Claude led the Group’s accelerated growth, organic and through acquisitions, both on the industrial side (Bridor) and in the restaurant segment. From 2005 to 2016, the Group’s North American activities increased from $30 million to $1 billion, and in 2016, the company had more than 15,000 employees in North America between its industrial and food service activities in North America.
Group Le Duff America now encompasses La Madeleine, Mimi’s Cafe, Bruegger’s Bagels, Timothy’s Coffee, Brioche Dorée NA, Au Pain Doré, Bridor Canada and Bridor USA.
Following a well-orchestrated planning exercise carried out since 2015, Claude left his positions as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Groupe Le Duff America at the end of 2016, passing on the baton to two successors, one for the industrial division and the other for the restaurant division.
However, Claude remains one of the five members of the Group’s Board of Directors and a partner with his friend Louis Le Duff in some North American activities.
Claude intends to remain active as a strategic adviser to companies wanting to establish themselves and/or grow in the United States. He has a special talent and specific expertise in the agro-business sector and, of course, in the retail sector. During his 12 years managing a company as CEO in the United States and Canada, and achieving growth by acquisition, Claude was involved in all facets of the U.S. operations. This included regulatory affairs, company acquisitions and integration, human resource management and, of course, accounting and financial management. Claude also led all aspects of growth through organic expansion and acquisition, and oversaw all financings required for internal operations and growth.
Claude has developed a large network of private investment partners, business brokers and commercial banks, both in the industrial and restaurant sectors.
With this outstanding professional and business experience, Claude defines himself first and foremost as a specialist in company development, growth, positioning and expansion. He is a passionate believer in companies that are structured around leadership with a vision and strong culture, a clear market position and message, as well as a unique offering and an obsession for execution focused on the customer.