On Wednesday, one day after his Liberal party was ousted by the Parti Quebecois in Quebec's general election, the 28-year political veteran told reporters he's calling it quits.
"The decision was unanimous. I will leave my post as leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec in a few days, once a new government is formed," said Charest, who also lost his seat in the National Assembly, Tuesday.
"I have no regrets."
Charest, a lawyer by trade, made the jump to provincial politics after serving as a Progressive Conservative MP in the House of Commons for 14 years. He served as Quebec Liberal leader since 1998 and Premier since 2003.
Charest said he's leaving politics but was vague about his future plans.
Outgoing Quebec premier Jean Charest is stepping down as Quebec Liberal leader. Charest says he is proud of what he has accomplished in his political career.
Don't count Charest out, just yet:
Time after time during his political career, Charest has been given up for dead only to rebound. Some have dubbed him the 'comeback kid of Canadian politics.'
He was a federal Tory cabinet minister when he was just in his 20s, but was forced to resign over an ill-advised phone call to a judge.
His career rebounded in 1993 when he took the helm of the Progressive Conservatives immediately after the party was decimated to only two seats in the House of Commons.
Charest became Quebec's premier in 2003 but his popularity plummeted into the teens by the 2007 provincial election. He managed to hold on to power in the 2007 election with a minority government, and — to the surprise of many — won a majority in 2009.
What's next for Charest?
Earlier this month, Konrad Yakabuski of the Globe and Mail wrote that Charest would have quit politics before the election if he had been offered a prestigious international appointment, a la former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell.
But, as Yakabuski explains, Charest's relationship with Prime Minister Stephen Harper is at best distant.
But don't count out some sort of peace offering by Harper.
And in the long-term, how about a run for the federal Conservative leadership.
In an op-ed piece for the Financial Post, Michael Carin, a former editor of Montreal Business Magazine, had this message for Charest: Aim high; become Canada's prime minister.
"As a man outstandingly adept at reading the writing on the wall, and having been Prime Minister since 2006, [Stephen Harper] will retire at the top of his game [in 2015]. That will leave a job vacancy at the head of your former party...
In 2015 you will be 57 years old, a suitable age for you to recapture a position you once held on the federal stage.
With your roots in Quebec, you will be a formidable candidate to lead the Conservative party. Everybody knows that your original dream was to be prime minister of Canada."
Prime Minister Charest? You never know.