Frank Lowy

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Frank Lowy
Lowy at the Australian Football Awards in October 2011
Born (1930-10-22) 22 October 1930 (age 83)
Fiľakovo, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia)
Residence Point Piper, Sydney, Australia
Nationality Australian
Citizenship Australia
Occupation Businessman
Net worth US$4.6;billion[1]
Board member of
Westfield Group
Football Federation Australia
Religion Judaism
Spouse(s) Shirley Lowy
Children Peter Lowy
Steven Lowy
David Lowy

Frank Lowy, AC (born 22 October 1930) is an Australian businessman. He is a co-founder of the Westfield Group, operator of over 100 shopping centres in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom.[2][3] In 2010, Lowy was ranked No. 1 on the BRW Rich 200 list and in 2013 was ranked second.[4]


Early life[edit]

Lowy was born in Fiľakovo, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), and lived in Budapest, Hungary during World War II. He made his way to France in 1946, where he left on the ship Yagur, but was caught en route to British Mandate of Palestine by the British and deported to the detention camp in Cyprus. Lowy joined the Haganah then the Golani Brigade, fighting during the Arab–Israeli War in the Galilee and in Gaza.


In 1952, Lowy left Israel and joined his family, who had left Europe for Australia and started a business delivering small goods. In 1953, he met fellow immigrant John Saunders. The pair became business partners, eventually creating Westfield Development Corporation through the development of a shopping centre at Blacktown in Sydney's western suburbs. Over the next 30 years, Lowy and Saunders developed shopping centres across Australia and the United States (from 1977)[citation needed]; changing the name of the company to the Westfield Group and listing the company on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1960. Saunders sold his interests and left the company in 1987. In the 1990s Lowy took the company to New Zealand, then the United Kingdom in the 2000s.

Lowy was appointed a Director of the Reserve Bank of Australia in 1995, and was reappointed in 2000 and 2003, concluding his term in 2005.[5] In 2008 Lowy and related interests were mentioned in documents stolen from the LGT Bank of Lichtenstein by a former employee. A subsequent US Senate probe and an Australian Taxation Office audit in which Lowy and his sons, David and Steven, were investigated on their involvement with financial institutions in tax havens located in Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Lowy maintained he had not done anything wrong.[6][7][8]

Lowy has appeared on the BRW Rich 200 list every year since it was first published in 1983. In 2010, the Business Review Weekly measured Lowy's wealth at A$5.04 billion, making him Australia's richest person at that time.[9][10] After turning 80 in October 2010, effective May 2011, Lowy officially stood down as Executive Chairman of the Westfield Group, taking on the role of Non-Executive Chairman. Sons, Steven and Peter, became joint chief executives.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Lowy at the 2013 March of the Living in Auschwitz-Birkenau in front of the cattle car donated in memory of his father

Lowy is married to Shirley. He has three sons, Peter and Steven, who manage the Westfield business, and David, who manages the family's private investments.[12]

In an Australian television production broadcast in 2010, called Family Confidential, it was revealed that Lowy had kept a secret about his survival in Nazi occupied Hungary. As a 13 year old Jewish boy, Lowy had never known about the loss of his father, Hugo Lowy, who was beaten to death at Auschwitz concentration camp while protecting Hugo's younger acquaintance, Myer Lowy.[12] As a mark of respect to Hugo Lowy and other Hungarian Jews, Lowy commissioned the restoration of a railway wagon that had transported Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz, and placed the wagon on site at the former concentration camp.[12] In April 2013, Frank Lowy attended the March of the Living, where he shared the story of how his father, Hugo Lowy, perished during the Holocaust, with thousands of young students from around the world who had gathered in Auschwitz-Birkenau to observe Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah).[13][14]

Soccer in Australia[edit]

A long supporter of soccer in Australia, Lowy was elected Chairman of the Football Federation Australia (FFA) in 2003. Some observers credit him and John O'Neill, a former rugby union executive, with resurrecting soccer in Australia.[citation needed] A televised "A-League" is now in place, and the country has become a member of the Asian Football Confederation. Although, there is some pressure for Lowy to step aside as Chairman of the FFA when his term expires in October 2011.[15] In September 2008, it was announced the Lowy was appointed to the FIFA board.[citation needed]

In 2007 Lowy commenced a campaign to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Australia backed with a $46 million support from the Australian Government. In 2010, amid allegations of bribery, politics, and back-scratching,[16][17][18] FIFA awarded Qatar the rights to host the World Cup.


Lowy has a reputation for giving of his time and financial support to a broad range of causes.[citation needed]

Awarded the title of Australia’s leading philanthropist by peak body, Philanthropy Australia, with donations in 2002 of A$10 million,[19] the same year Lowy was reported to have answered a call by John Howard, Australia's Prime Minister at the time, to donate his annual salary of approximately A$11 million to charity.[20]

In April 2003 to mark the 50th anniversary of his arrival in Australia, Lowy established the Lowy Institute for International Policy, an independent international policy think tank devoted to foreign affairs, and Australia's role in the world.[21] It was reported that a gift of A$30 million was made to establish the Institute.[19] Together with the Packer family, in 2008 Lowy donated an undisclosed amount towards the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.[22] In 2010, Lowy and his family donated A$10 million to facilitate the construction of the UNSW Lowy Cancer Research Centre, a collaborative centre of the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales.[23][24][25]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2000 he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for his service to the community through the development of the property industry and expansion of the retail sector in Australia and internationally, and as philanthropist committed to support of wide ranging social and cultural endeavours.[26] The establishment of the Lowy Institute led him to being awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship in 2005 by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.[27] On 2 October 2007 Lowy received the Henni Friedlander Award for the Common Good at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, United States.[28] In 2008 Lowy was honoured by Australia Post for his contribution to philanthropy as one of the nation's five leading, living philanthropists with a commemorative postage stamp that was released on the eve of Australia Day as part of the Australian Legends series.[29]


  1. ^ Forbes The World's Billionaires: Frank Lowy retrieved 31 January 2014
  2. ^ "#222 Frank Lowy & family". United States of America. 5 March 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Jerusalem Post: "Frank Lowy: From Hagana to $3.8 billion magnate" By HERB KEINON 29 May 2006
  4. ^ "BRW Rich 200 2013 Wealth Index". Business Review Weekly (Fairfax Media). 23 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Past & Present Reserve Bank Board Members". About the RBA. Reserve Bank of Australia. 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "Probe into Lowys offshore banking". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 July 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2008. 
  7. ^ Wood, Leonie (9 December 2010). "US ran two investigations into Lowys' bank links". The Age (Australia). Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  8. ^ Elliott, Geoff; Hewett, Jennifer (18 July 2008). "Lowy family 'hid millions'". The Australian. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Zappone, Chris (26 May 2010). "Frank Lowy tops BRW rich list for first time". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  10. ^ Saulwick, Jacob; Cummins, Caroline (27 May 2010). "Lowy leaves mining magnates in the dust". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  11. ^ Hewett, Jennifer (3 March 2011). "Frank Lowy hands Westfield reins to sons". The Australian. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c Hewett, Jennifer (3 November 2010). "Holocaust truth set Frank Lowy free". The Australian. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  13. ^ "Frank Lowy recalls father's demise in March of the Living address". Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "The Wagon of Birkenau". Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  15. ^ Smithies, Tom (25 July 2011). "Dominic Galati to take on Frank Lowy in Football Federation Australia leadership revolt". The Daily Telegraph (Australia). Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  16. ^ Wilson, Peter (4 December 2010). "The moment Lowy knew Cup bid was lost". The Australian. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  17. ^ Wahl, Grant (23 May 2011). "Sorry Soccer: New allegations of corruption underline the need for change in FIFA". Sports Illustrated (United States: Time Inc). p. 16. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  18. ^ "Bin Hammam denied access to Fifa congress". BBC News (United Kingdom). 1 June 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  19. ^ a b Nethercote, Jane; Webb-Pullman, Marika (17 May 2006). "Forget the filthy rich: here’s the Crikey philanthropy list". (Australian). Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  20. ^ Long, Stephen (13 September 2002). "Westfield CEO's corporate philanthropy". PM (ABC Radio) (Australia). Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  21. ^ "About the Lowy Institute". The Lowy Institute. Retrieved 4 December 2006. 
  22. ^ Tovey, Josephine (3 September 2008). "Princess Mary opens Victor Chang centre". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  23. ^ "Lowy Cancer Research Centre". Key projects. University of New South Wales. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  24. ^ "The Lowy Cancer Research Centre at UNSW – Giving Hope". Alumni e-Newsletter. University of New South Wales. 1 August 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  25. ^ "About the Lowy Gift". The Centre is named in recognition of leading businessman and philanthropist Frank Lowy and his family. UNSW Medicine. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Search Australian Honours: Lowy, Frank P". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 26 January 2000. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  27. ^ "Howard gets award amid anti-US concern". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 21 August 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2008. 
  28. ^ "Business Leader/Philanthropist Frank Lowy to Receive Henni Friedlander Award for the Common Good". Bowdoin College. 2 October 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2007. 
  29. ^ "New stamps honour five philanthropists". The Age. AAP. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 

External links[edit]

  • Stitson, Roger (15 November 2010). "A Study Guide" (pdf). Family Confidential (Australia: ABC TV). pp. 3–5. Retrieved 31 January 2014.