Striking a balance between continuity and progress
With the financial partnership between Le Groupe Maurice and Ventas finalized, people have asked Luc Maurice what he thinks of everything that’s been accomplished. Now that the legal and administrative parameters of the new partnership have been agreed upon, what does this crucial step mean for the history of Le Groupe Maurice? Has its vision changed? We sat down with Luc Maurice for an interview.
Mr. Maurice, you and your management team came out feeling confident after finalizing one of the biggest real estate transactions in Quebec’s recent history. How do you feel now that the transaction has been concluded on a positive note?
I feel extremely happy, proud, confident and relieved. Our main concern was ensuring we stay true to ourselves and preserve our company’s DNA, our values and the practices that have built our reputation for more than 20 years. We were very vigilant about making sure the transaction doesn’t change what Le Groupe Maurice is all about. In other words, we weren’t prepared to go ahead at any cost. That’s what kept me up at night, and now I’m satisfied. We signed an agreement with a company that respects who we are and wants to stay faithful to who we are. That’s extremely reassuring and promising for Le Groupe Maurice’s future.
It certainly was a steep learning curve considering the major issues that needed to be addressed and the complexity of the agreement. What did you learn from the experience?
It forced us to take a step back and carefully examine every aspect of the company, which is a difficult thing to do on an everyday basis. We had to look back and analyze everything that’s been accomplished since the beginning. For example, this entire two-month process made me realize just how much our good reputation preceded us. This financial transaction brought us in contact with people who know the business world inside out, and they confirmed that our name truly stood out from the rest. I always knew deep down that we were unique, but having that knowledge confirmed by experts felt extremely rewarding.
Did your vision change along the way?
No, but it became clearer. The process convinced me that I want Le Groupe Maurice to be recognized as the leading operator of senors’ residences in the province. We want to remain THE manager known for offering the best quality services and accommodations for seniors. That’s the legacy we want to leave behind for society. It means we must continue developing residences and leveraging the thing we most excel at: management. The ultimate goal of Le Groupe Maurice isn’t to build as many residences as possible, but to offer an exceptional experience to its residents.
Was it hard to find a new investor? Were Vantas the only ones interested?
No, we got to meet with a number of interested firms. I’m convinced that what drew in investors, besides our high-quality service offer, was our company’s culture. In my opinion, this is Le Groupe Maurice’s biggest asset and I’m committed to protecting it at any cost. It’s the hardest aspect to imitate since it’s not tangible like bricks and mortar. It’s also what leaves the biggest impression on us when we enter one of our residences.
And we’ve succeeded in transmitting this culture to our employees. The staff working on the ground with the residents are extremely important, and it’s critical that they embrace our values. Our employees show extraordinary drive and dedication. Each and every one of them cares deeply about the happiness of our residents, and that influences how we work and guarantees the high quality of our services. They are real people who are passionate about the work they do. It’s our responsibility to keep it that way.
In your view, what new challenges lie on the horizon?
The reason I consider this transaction to be a victory is because it guarantees our integrity and sustainability. The agreement provided us with a clearer vision of our company, which will help us to more effectively fulfil our mission of offering seniors living environments where they can enjoy independent lifestyles. Our processes may change somewhat, since new projects are certainly coming our way in the near future. We’re now ready to take our expertise with managing seniors’ residences even further. We’ll definitely continue growing, but we need to put in place an optimal structure and rigorous processes to achieve this growth more effectively. The transaction was a catalyst that accelerated our learning process. Therefore, I’m confident that the company’s future is bright.
Do you think the public’s perception of Le Groupe Maurice has been tainted by the arrival of this US-based investor?
If that were the case, it would be a pity because we haven’t changed! We simply replaced one investor with another. We’ve been building strong bonds with Quebec for more than 20 years, and we’ve never had the intention of breaking these bonds, no matter where our major investor comes from. Our company was created in Quebec, we live here and we want to offer the very best to our communities. Quebec is where we intend to continue innovating while developing and managing even more residences. Our mission is far from over. There’s still lots to do! The ageing of the population is still in its early stages, and we have to be prepared. Our reputation, presence and contributions are very visible in Quebec, and every corporate decision—including our decision to partner up with Ventas—is meant to strengthen our unique bonds with the local population.
How do you see the future of Le Groupe Maurice? Do you plan to develop residences outside Quebec?
Perhaps—why not? Our priority remains to continue growing in Quebec, especially since there’s still a lot of demand here for what we’re creating. But since we’re true to our origins, we’re not afraid of exporting our expertise as well. That would only strengthen the credibility of Quebec’s expertise in managing and developing seniors’ residences. So why not share our knowledge with others? Just look at the incredible success of Cirque du Soleil! Thanks to them, the whole world knows about Quebec. We have to get over the fear of exporting our knowledge beyond our borders. No matter what we do, our DNA is and will always remain Québécois.
You can be proud of what has been accomplished. How did you achieve it?
I’m lucky to be surrounded by amazing people and I can count on extremely dedicated teams. The company has an incredibly strong internal team, starting with its seven vice presidents. I’d like to thank them from the bottom of my heart because they’ve put in their hearts and souls to reach an agreement that respects our values. I would never have achieved it without them.
For everything I’ve built, I’ve had a team on my side. The transaction is a success thanks to the strong cohesion among the members of my team and our ability to respond quickly to events despite our size and growth.
It makes me happy to see that the company is now much bigger than me. Each person who is a part of it contributes to its vitality. Thanks to their dedication, 12,000 residents know that their happiness is our priority and their needs will be heard.