Frank Stronach is an influential Austrian-Canadian businessman and philanthropist, best known for establishing Magna International, a global automotive parts company. In addition to his legacy in the automotive industry, he has also made significant strides in politics and horse racing.
Born as Franz Strohsack on September 6, 1932, in Kleinsemmering, Styria, Austria, Frank Stronach’s early life was marked by the economic struggles of post-World War II Europe. At the tender age of 14, he started an apprenticeship as a tool and die maker, thus developing an early interest in the industrial field. Looking for better opportunities, he emigrated to Canada in 1954 with just a few dollars to his name. His story is a vivid example of the ‘rags to riches’ narrative, providing hope and inspiration for many.
Stronach married Elfrieda Sallmutter, who also from Austria. The couple has two children: Belinda Stronach, who has served as a Liberal and formerly Conservative MP, as well as the past CEO of Magna, and Andrew Stronach, who has engaged himself in thoroughbred horse racing through Adena Springs Farms breeding operations. Stronach splits his time between Oberwaltersdorf, Austria, and Aurora, Ontario.
Frank and Elfriede Stronach are the proud grandparents of three grandchildren, Frank Walker and Nicole Walker, who are the children of Belinda Stronach, and Selena Stronach, the only child of Andrew Stronach.
After his arrival in Canada, Stronach worked in a variety of jobs before setting up a small tool and die company named Multimatic Investments Limited in 1957. This venture later became Magna International in 1969, a company that grew under Stronach’s leadership to become one of the world’s leading automotive parts manufacturers, employing over 150,000 people worldwide. Stronach’s passion extended beyond the automotive industry, leading him into the world of horse racing. He founded Stronach Group, which owns and operates several major horse racetracks, including Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream Park. Under Stronach’s vision, these venues became premium spots for the world’s top horse racing events.
In 2011, Stronach stepped down as CEO of Magna International, retaining honorary positions within the company. He then embarked on a new journey in politics, founding the Stronach Party in Austria. Although his political career was brief, his dedication to public service was evident. Frank Stronach is known for his philanthropic efforts as much as his business achievements. Through the Stronach family’s philanthropic initiatives, they’ve invested significantly in healthcare, education, and community development. In his native Austria, the Stronach Institute was founded to support research in holistic medicine and nutrition.
In 2011, Stronach and his daughter Belinda Stronach established The Stronach Group, a company specializing in horse racing, entertainment, and pari-mutuel wagering technology. The Stronach Group’s portfolio includes renowned horse racing brands such as Santa Anita Park, Pimlico Race Course – the home of the Preakness Stakes, Gulfstream Park – a key Florida entertainment hub and home to the $16-million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, the richest Thoroughbred horse race in the world, as well as Laurel Park, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, and Rosecroft Raceway.
Through its subsidiaries AmTote and Xpressbet, The Stronach Group also engages in pari-mutuel technology, and disseminates horse racing content to audiences via Monarch Content Management.
One of Stronach’s early achievements was his collaboration with Nelson Bunker Hunt on the filly Glorious Song, which was awarded the 1980 Sovereign Award for Canadian Horse of the Year. Stronach’s horses have claimed victory in the Queen’s Plate in 1994 and 1997, the Belmont Stakes in 1997, and the Preakness Stakes in 2000. His horse Ghostzapper won several significant races, including the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic, earned the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year, and was declared the World’s Top Ranked Horse for 2004.
Frank Stronach’s net worth is estimated at $1.6 billion by Forbes. His wealth has primarily been derived from his stake in Magna International and his investments in horse racing through the Stronach Group.
Stronach’s achievements are vast and varied. Under his leadership, Magna International won the prestigious General Motors Supplier of the Year award multiple times. Stronach himself has been recognized with various accolades, including the Beth Shalom Humanitarian Award in 2000, and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.