Lowy at the Australian Football Awards in October 2011
22 October 1930 |
|Net worth||US$5.3 billion
(2013 Forbes Asia)
(2013 BRW Rich 200)
|Board member of||Westfield Group|
Frank Lowy, AC (born 22 October 1930) is an Australian-Israeli 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. In 2010, Lowy was ranked No. 1 on the BRW Rich 200 list and in 2013 was ranked second.
Lowy was born in Fiľakovo, Slovakia (then Czechoslovakia), 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. After a few months, Lowy was allowed into Palestine and was brought to the Atlit detainee camp. Lowy then moved to Sde Ya'akov, a small yeshiva school near Qiryat Tivon, and eventually joined the Haganah and 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); 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; meanwhile Lowy took the company to New Zealand (in the 1990s) and the United Kingdom (in the 2000s).
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 hadn't done anything wrong.
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.
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.
Married to Shirley, Lowy has three sons, Peter and Steven, who manage the Westfield business, and David, who manages the family's private investments.
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. 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.
Soccer in Australia
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. 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. In September 2008, it was announced the Lowy was appointed to the FIFA board.
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, 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. 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. 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.
Awarded the title of Australia’s leading philanthropist by peak body, Philanthropy Australia, with donations in 2002 of A$10 million, the same year Lowy was reported to have answered a call by Australia's Prime Minister to donate his annual salary of approximately A$11 million to charity.
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. It was reported that a gift of A$30 million was made to establish the Institute. Lowy's gift has led to him being awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship in 2005 by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Together with the Packer family, in 2008 Lowy made a gift of an undisclosed amount towards the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. In 2010, Lowy and his family gifted 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.
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.
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