Frank Stronach and his Institute

by Stefan Eichberger

Frank Stronach - the Person
Frank Stronach is the founder and Chairman of Magna International Inc., one of the world's largest and most diversified suppliers of automotive components, systems and modules.

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 Born in Weiz, Austria, Frank Stronach immigrated to Canada in 1954 with a working background in tool and machine engineering. In 1957, he formed a tool and die company, Multimatic Investments Limited, which subsequently expanded into the production of automotive components. In 1969, Multimatic Investments Limited merged with the Magna Electronics Corporation Limited, with Mr. Stronach as one of the controlling shareholders. In 1973, Magna Electronics Corporation Limited was transformed into Magna International Inc.

In 1971, Frank Stronach introduced "Fair Enterprise," his own brand of management philosophy, to Magna. It is an approach based on a Corporate Constitution that predetermines the annual percentage of profits shared between employees, management and investors, and makes every employee a shareholder in the company. These rights are enshrined in Magna's governing Corporate Constitution.

At the end of the 1980's, Frank Stronach turned his attention towards his native country and decided to establish Magna's European central office in Oberwaltersdorf in Upper Austria. With this move and the decision to acquire two traditional Austrian automotive companies, Steyr-Daimler-Puch and Steyr-Daimler-Puch Fahrzeugtechnik, Stronach has become an important economic player in Austria.

Mr. Stronach has served on numerous corporate, government and university boards and has provided assistance to a wide range of charitable and community service organizations. He is the recipient of several honorary degrees, amongst them a Doctor of Philosophy from Haifa University in Israel. His many awards include the Order of Canada and being named "Canadian International Executive of the Year" in 2001 by the Canadian Council for International Business.

Frank Stronach Institute (FSI) - Technical University Graz
Recently, the Technical University Graz and Frank Stronach, founder and Chairman of Magna International Inc. agreed on a unique collaboration. Mr. Stronach, an Austrian born Canadian industrialist, and the Technical University signed a contract to set up the "Frank Stronach Institute" at the faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Economics with an overall capital investment of €24 million within the next ten years. Magna Steyr will finance the following three chairs: Automotive Safety, Conversion Technology / Tools and Production, Science and Management.

The focus of the FSI is on internationality both in terms of content and personnel in order to prepare the graduates for the demands of an increasingly global economy. This focus will be reflected in both the choice of professors and students. Ideally, many of the lectures and seminars will be held in English. Mr. Stronach has also offered to assign some of Magna's best managers to lecture at the institute free of charge. He hopes that eventually the research carried out at the FSI will be enough to fully fund the institute, and he expects other companies like Siemens, Bosch or AVL, a renowned Austrian company that develops powertrain systems with internal combustion engines as well as instrumentation and test systems, will eventually be interested in participating in the FSI-research activities.{/access}