Gerald W. Schwartz is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Onex Corporation, an investment firm that was founded in 1984.
Gerald W. Schwartz was born on November 24, 1941, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Schwartz was the only son of a lawyer and an auto parts dealer.
Gerald Schwartz holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree which he obtained in 1962, and a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of Manitoba from 1966. Schwartz remained in Winnipeg for two years, articling with the respected tax lawyer Izzy Asper, before completing a Master of Business Administration Degree in 1970, from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business. Schwartz has also received Honorary Doctorate Degrees from six other universities.
Gerald Schwartz’s career path began after he graduated in 1970, working for the New York brokerage firm Estabrook & Company. Three years later, he joined the corporate finance department at Bear Stearns & Company, a global investment bank and brokerage firm based in New York City. Schwartz worked alongside investment bankers Jerome Kohlberg, Henry Kravis, and George Roberts, learning deal-making techniques from the pioneers of the leveraged buyout (LBO). In 1977, Schwartz took the skills he acquired on Wall Street back to Canada, when he partnered with his former employer Izzy Asper. The two formed CanWest Capital Corporation, a global communications corporation. Over the next seven years CanWest acquired several small companies, however by the early 1980s the partners’ business relationship had deteriorated and Schwartz departed CanWest in 1983, leaving with $2 million of his own money and nearly $50 million from investors. In 1984, after moving to Toronto, Schwartz formed his own holding company, Onex, which has quietly outperformed many of the vaunted American private equity firms. Onex has grown to become one of Canada’s largest companies, with annual revenues of approximately $16 billion and 89,000 employees around the world. Today, Schwartz manages Onex as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the firm that boasts $38 billion in assets.
According to Forbes, Gerald Schwartz has a net worth of $1.6 billion (US) and is ranked #2263 on the Forbes 2021 Billionaires List.
Mr. Schwartz is recognized as one of Canada’s best examples of contemporary entrepreneurship. In 2003, the University of Manitoba Faculty of Management awarded Schwartz the International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award. One year later, Schwartz was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame and in 2006 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. Currently, he is a director of Indigo Books & Music Inc. and an honorary director of The Bank of Nova Scotia. Schwartz serves as Vice Chairman of Mount Sinai Hospital and as a director, governor and trustee to numerous other non-profit organizations. As President and CEO of Onex Corporation, Schwartz has built his company into a diversified, Canadian-based financial success story. By continuously engaging with the community, he is an active volunteer and quiet benefactor. Over the years, he has made significant contributions to the University of Toronto, St. Francis Xavier University, Toronto’s Sculpture Garden, the Dancer Transition Resource Center, and Eva’s Initiatives; an organization that supports homeless youth in Toronto.