Guy Laliberté

Guy Laliberté, OC, CQ (born September 2, 1959) is a French Canadian entrepreneur, philanthropist, poker player, space tourist and currently the CEO of Cirque du Soleil. Starting out as an accordion player, stiltwalker and fire-eater; Laliberté created his circus which is a synthesis of all circus styles around the world. In 2006, the 95% share holder of the US$1.2 billion Cirque Du Soleil was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.[1][2]

Early years

Laliberté was born in Québec City in 1959. An accordionist, stilt-walker and fire-eater, he founded Quebec’s first internationally-renowned circus with the support of a small group of accomplices. A bold visionary, Guy Laliberté recognized and cultivated the talents of the street performers from the Fête foraine de Baie-Saint-Paul and created Cirque du Soleil in 1984. Guy Laliberté was the first to orchestrate the marriage of cultures and artistic and acrobatic disciplines that is the hallmark of Cirque du Soleil. Since 1984, he has guided the creative team through the creation of every show. Cirque du Soleil has become an international organization, as much in terms of its makeup as in the scope of its activities and influence. Guy Laliberté now heads an organization with activities on five continents. [3]

Personal life

Guy Laliberté has been romantically involved with Claudia Barilla with whom he has two children.

Spaceflight experience

In September 2009, Guy Laliberté became the first Canadian private space explorer. His mission was dedicated to raising awareness on water issues facing humankind on planet earth. Under the theme Moving Stars and Earth for Water, this first Poetic Social Mission in space aimed at touching people through an artistic approach: a special 120-minute webcast program featuring various artistic performances unfolding in 14 cities on five continents, including the International Space Station. [3]

Poker career

In April 2007, Laliberté finished fourth in the World Poker Tour Season Five event at Bellagio in Las Vegas and won $696,220. Laliberté also played on GSN’s High Stakes Poker Season 4 show. He also took part in Poker After Dark season 4.

Philanthropy

October 29, 2007, Guy Laliberté announced, in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International, and Gordon Nixon, President and Chief Executive Officer of RBC Financial Group, the official launch of the ONE DROP Foundation[4] to fight poverty in the world by giving everyone access to water. Inspired by the creative experience of Cirque du Soleil and its international program for street kids, Cirque du Monde, the ONE DROP Foundation makes use of the circus arts, folklore, popular theatre, music, dance and the visual arts to promote education, community involvement and public awareness of water issues. Technical projects in developing countries will improve access to water, ensure food security and promote gender equality in communities.

The operating costs of ONE DROP will be covered by a $100 million contribution from Guy Laliberté over 25 years. Field activities will be financed by donations from the employees of Cirque du Soleil and from the public, as well as through funding commitments by Canadian and international partners. Oxfam International, through Oxfam-Québec, has been associated with ONE DROP since 2005 in a three-year pilot project in Nicaragua. A leader in development aid, Oxfam brings expertise in selecting and implementing field projects. Their involvement with the ONE DROP Foundation is based on a common desire to support sustainable development with concrete actions and in collaboration with local partners.

In March 2009, Guy Laliberté was rumoured as one of the potential buyers of the Montreal Canadiens hockey club, as former owner George Gillett explored the option of selling the franchise.[5]

Awards and honours

Université Laval (Québec) awarded an honorary doctorate to Guy Laliberté in 2008. The year before, Guy Laliberté took the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for all three levels: Quebec, Canada and international. In 2004, he received the Order of Canada, the highest distinction in the country, from the Governor General of Canada. The same year, he was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2003, he was honoured by the Condé Nast group as part of the Never Follow Program, a tribute to creators and innovators. In 2001, he was named a Great Montrealer by the Académie des Grands Montréalais. In 1997, Guy Laliberté received the Ordre National du Québec, the highest distinction awarded by the Government of Quebec. [3]

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Lalibert%C3%A9

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