Frank Stronach joins U of T Scarborough as newest management executive in residence

Frank Stronach with student Spencer Chang
Frank Stronach, pictured with U of T Scarborough management student Spencer Chang, delivers his lecture Fair Enterprise: A Model for Shared Success on June 13, 2023 (Photos by Sophia Seoh)

Kendal Egli

Eminent business mogul and philanthropist Frank Stronach will join U of T Scarborough this summer as the newest executive in residence in the department of management.

“We are pleased to welcome Mr. Stronach, one our country’s innovative industry leaders, as executive in residence,” said Professor April Franco, chair of U of T Scarborough’s department of management.

Stronach, who is the founder and honorary chairman of Magna International Inc., started as a tool-and-die maker when he first immigrated to Canada. He would go on to create one of the country’s largest diversified companies while helping build equitable pathways to prosperity for countless individuals, families and communities through a unique approach to management.  

“We look forward to learning from his innovative vision of shared leadership,” Franco said.

Frank Stronach

Stronach (CM) immigrated to Canada from Austria in 1954 with a few hundred dollars and a dream to build his own business. In 1957, he started Magna International in a garage, then built it into the world’s most diversified automotive parts supplier with more than 170,000 employees in 34 countries and sales of more than $40 billion USD.

He introduced his unique management philosophy, known as fair enterprise, to Magna in 1971. The fair enterprise approach is based on a business charter of rights that predetermines the annual percentage of profits shared between employees, management, investors and society. These rights are enshrined in a governing corporate constitution. Stronach noted that when Magna employees participated in profit sharing, profits went up 40 per cent in the first year, 100 per cent in the second year and 200 per cent in the third.

“Employees basically became partners in the business. By knowing they get a portion of the profits, they have a great incentive to make better products for a better price,” Stronach said.

He is currently the founder and chairman of Stronach International, whose mission is to enhance society and the environment through micro-mobility transportation and organic agri-business.

As executive in residence in the department of management, Stronach joins a growing roster of industry leaders who create meaningful impact within the U of T Scarborough community by advancing opportunities for students, faculty and staff to build knowledge networks and technical skills both inside and outside of the classroom. Through teaching, mentorship and expertise across business functions, executives in residence are committed to educating equity-deserving students and engaging diverse perspectives in the pursuit of inclusive excellence.

In addition to serving on corporate, government and university boards over the years, including the corporate governance board of the NASDAQ stock exchange, Stronach is the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates and awards including being inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, the Automotive Hall of Fame in the US and the Order of Canada.

students in ARC lecture theatre
More than 700 students attended Stronach's lecture on June 13 at U of T Scarborough.

His autobiography The Magna Man, published in 2012, tells the story of his life and career. A passionate philanthropist, Stronach has provided assistance to a wide range of charitable and community organizations over many decades, including more than $2 million in support for communities on the United States gulf coast affected by Hurricane Katrina in summer 2005.  

Stronach said he firmly believes in the university’s mission to shape the minds of tomorrow and take up the challenges of developing the framework for an improved society. He shared his vision of leadership during the first of two special lectures at U of T Scarborough in front of 700 management and economics students in attendance.

“The key to my success is that I shared. I’m an open book. When I made a promise, I stuck to it,” Stronach said.

Details of his next speaking engagement, which will take place at U of T Scarborough in fall 2023, will be announced soon.

Frank Stronach