The Omer DeSerres Chair of Retailing owes its creation to a donation from Roger DeSerres, the son of Omer DeSerres. Concerned that no university courses in retail management were being offered in Canada at the time, Roger DeSerres sought to give retail management its rightful place in the academic milieu. One of the first chairs set up by a French-speaking businessman in Quebec, his initiative stands as an historic event in university-business relations. HEC Montréal was founded in 1907 and Omer DeSerres opened shop in 1908; this propitious synchronization of dates highlights their respective loyalty to their birthplace.

March 31, 1989 represents an important date in the history of HEC Montréal.  It was on this date that the Omer DeSerres Chair of Retailing was launched, marking a Quebec premiere in training and research linked to retailing and distribution. The launch took place at a press conference attended by Mr. Daniel Johnson, minister of industry and commerce and president of Quebec’s Treasury Board, and by Mr. Roger DeSerres, president of the Omer DeSerres Council of Canada.