Peter Munk

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Peter Munk
Born(1927-11-08)November 8, 1927
Budapest, Kingdom of Hungary
DiedMarch 28, 2018(2018-03-28) (aged 90)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
NationalityCanadian
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
Known forChairman, president and founder of Barrick Gold
Spouse(s)
Linda Joy Gutterson
(m. 1956; div. 1970)

Melanie Jane Bosanquet
(m. 1973)
Children5

Peter Munk CC (November 8, 1927 – March 28, 2018) was a Hungarian-born Canadian businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He was involved in a number of high-profile business ventures, including furniture and electronics company Clairtone, real estate company Trizec Properties, and Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold-mining corporation. The Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at the Toronto General Hospital are named for him.

Early years and family[edit]

Part of a series of articles on
the Holocaust
Blood for goods
Auschwitz entrance.JPG

Munk was born in Budapest, into a prosperous Hungarian-Jewish family, the son of Katharina Adler Munk and Lajos "Louis" Munk (1898–1977).[1][2] His grandfather, Gábor "Gabriel" Munk, had descended from a family of rabbis, was a brother of the noted linguist and ethnologist Bernát Munkácsi (né Munk), and uncle of the Hungarian jurist and writer Erno Munkacsi. Gábor became wealthy via Austro-Hungarian distribution rights for the popular Viennese chocolate brand, Manner, invested in real estate, then, during World War II, used what remained of his fortune to buy safe passage out of Hungary to neutral Switzerland for members of his immediate family, including his grandson Peter.[3][4]

Hungary was invaded by Nazi Germany in March 1944, when Munk was aged 16;[2] along with 14 members of his family, he escaped on the Kastner train, which carried 1,684 Jews to safety in Switzerland. The journey had been arranged by Rudolf Kastner of the Zionist Aid and Rescue Committee, as a result of secret negotiations with Adolf Eichmann — the high-ranking Nazi had allowed some Jews to leave in exchange for money, gold, and diamonds, part of a series of so-called "blood for goods" deals.[5] Munk's mother, who divorced his father when he was four, was deported from Budapest to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944. She survived, but later committed suicide.[6]

Munk arrived in Canada in 1948, via Switzerland, initially on a student visa, then graduated from the University of Toronto, in 1952, with a degree in electrical engineering.[7] Decades later, he praised Canada: “I arrived in this place not speaking the language, not knowing a dog... This is a country that does not ask about your origins, it only concerns itself with your destiny.”[8]

Career[edit]

Clairtone[edit]

In 1958, with $2,800 from his father-in-law, Webber Pharmaceuticals (now Webber Naturals) founder William Jay Gutterson,[9] he co-founded Clairtone with Scandinavian furniture importer David Gilmour. Clairtone manufactured high-end console stereos, and later televisions, which were recognizable icons of their day. The most celebrated Clairtone designs were the striking "Project G" series, introduced in 1964, composed of sleek rosewood cabinets with cantilevered black aluminum "sound globes" (speakers). The Project G and G2 were seen in the films Marriage on the Rocks and The Graduate, awarded a silver medal for excellence at the Milan Triennial design exhibition, and endorsed by Frank Sinatra and Oscar Peterson.[10] Fans of the Project G included Hugh Hefner.[11]

Clairtone's downfall began with "an ill-advised plan to build a plant in Nova Scotia." [12] The plant, built in Stellarton, opened in 1966 with funding from the province's Industrial Estates Limited (IEL). According to William Mingo, chief counsel for IEL, as quoted in Nina Munk's book about Clairtone, "Munk was too good a salesman for his own good. He could sell anything to anyone, including himself. My, he was a promoter. My, he had energy. My, he had charm. My, he had imagination."[13] In 1967, as a result of mounting losses and in order to try to recoup its multi-million dollar investments, the Government of Nova Scotia took over Clairtone and fired Munk and Gilmour. Munk faced accusations of insider trading "that were eventually settled out of court." [12] A report commissioned by Clairtone in the aftermath of the factory's failure found that one of the main issues was the local workforce. "The general population is basically not geared to the manufacturing frenzy and especially the five-day workweek... The welfare situation is such that it has created conditions similar to Appalachia in the United States where the third generation is already on relief."[13]

Hospitality and real estate[edit]

After the collapse of Clairtone, Munk and Gilmour invested in a plot of ocean-front land in Fiji which they soon developed into a hotel and resort. This venture grew into the Southern Pacific Hotel Corporation, which at its peak consisted of 54 resorts in Australia and the South Pacific. In 1978, the firm signed a deal with the President of Egypt to build a resort near the Great Pyramids. When Anwar Sadat cancelled the project, Munk sued the Egyptian government, eventually winning the arbitration case at the International Criminal Court.[14]

In 1979, Munk returned to Canada to start a new venture called Barrick, which he would eventually build into the world's largest gold company. At the time, bankers and the establishment viewed him as "a fugitive and a loser,” according to Munk.[15]

Munk was also founder, chairman, and CEO of Trizec Properties (formerly TrizecHahn Corporation), one of the largest American real estate investment trusts. In 2006, Trizec Properties was sold to Brookfield Properties in a transaction valued at approximately $9 billion.[16]

In 2007, Munk invested with partners in Porto Montenegro, a former naval base on the Adriatic Sea, turning it into a superyacht destination to rival Cannes and Monte Carlo. He was the majority shareholder of Montport Capital, which owned the centrepieces of the complex, Porto Montenegro Marina and Resort. He developed the site on the Bay of Kotor, putting Montenegro on the map for high-end tourism. In 2016 Munk sold the marina and hotel to Investment Corporation of Dubai, a sovereign wealth fund,[17] for an undisclosed amount, believed to be about 200 million euros.[18]

Barrick Gold[edit]

In 1980, Munk created Barrick Petroleum to invest in the oil sector, but he quickly realized that investments in this sector were ruinous. After the acquisition of a small company, Camflo Mines, Barrick left the oil sector and became overnight a mining company.[19] In 2011, Munk planned to merge with Glencore, Ivan Glasenberg's company, to create one of the world's largest commodities giants on par with BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. The gold market was not aligned with Glencore's other activities, however, and the deal did not go through.[20]

By 2016, Barrick had proven and probable reserves of two billion tons (1.33 grams of gold per tonne of ore).[21] It is the world's largest gold mining company and the largest Canadian company by capitalization. Munk retired from the day-to-day management but he remained the founder and President Emeritus. “Barrick is my legacy,” Munk said.[20]

Charitable contributions[edit]

In 1992, the Peter and Melanie Munk Charitable Foundation was founded. It has disbursed more than $300 million to a variety of organizations that work to improve the health, education and international reputation of Canadians.[22] In a speech he delivered in September 2017, on announcing a $100 million donation to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at the Toronto General Hospital, Munk spoke of his philanthropy in the context of his gratitude to the country that saved his life: “You opened the door. You gave us everything,” he added, referring to Canada as “paradise.”[23]

Education[edit]

Munk was a major donor to the University of Toronto, his alma mater. Beginning with a gift of $35 million in 2010, the Munk Foundation enabled the establishment of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. In total, Munk gave $51 million to his alma mater.[24] Peter Munk also made a substantial donation of $43 million to Technion – Israel Institute of Technology to establish that university's Peter Munk Research Institute.[25]

Public Policy[edit]

In 2016, Munk made a $5 million donation to the Fraser Institute, a think tank, to launch the Peter Munk Centre for Free Enterprise Education.[26] As well, with a $12 million donation from Aurea Foundation, a sub-division of his primary charitable foundation, Peter Munk established the semi-annual Munk Debates in 2008.[27]

Health[edit]

In 1997, Munk helped create the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at the Toronto General Hospital with an initial donation of $6 million. In May 2006, he announced that he would donate another $37 million, at the time the largest gift ever made to a Canadian medical institution.[28] In September 2017, he donated another $100 million.[29] As well, Peter and Melanie Munk established University Health Network’s first endowed chair for the cardiac program: the Melanie Munk Chair in Cardiovascular Surgery.[30]

Controversy[edit]

A contract between the Munk Foundation and the University of Toronto came under criticism due to the secrecy that shrouded its approval, and the fact that Munk's contribution of $35 million were conditional on $25 million contributions each by the federal government and the university. Coming at a time of downsizing and threats to the funding of other academic units, critics charge that these decisions are emblematic of the government's and the University's ceding of academic resource allocation decisions to the corporate sector.[31]

According to Linda McQuaig's book, The Trouble with Billionaires, Munk’s donation to the University of Toronto came with strings attached to ensure that the school would "fit with the political views and sensitivities of Peter Munk." McQuaig writes that "according to Munk's written agreement with the university, the Munk donations will be paid over an extended time period, with much of the money to be paid years from now — and subject to the Munk family's approval of the school. For that matter, the school's director will be required to report annually to a board appointed by Munk 'to discuss the programs, activities and initiatives of the School in greater detail.'"[32][33][34]

University president David Naylor rejected personal attacks on donors as "a deplorable affront to the values of rational and respectful discourse that are supposed to characterize a university" and stated "I later served on the board of the University Health Network, in the years when Dr. Munk made two gifts exceeding $40 million to support the cardiovascular program at that hospital. There was not a single instance where Peter Munk interfered with the educational, research or clinical priorities of the institution."[35]

Personal life[edit]

On September 3, 1956, Munk married Linda Joy Gutterson, the daughter of a Forest Hill pharmaceutical entrepreneur who gave Munk the start-up capital to fund his first company. Linda was 19, not long out of Havergal College; he was 10 years older. "'Linda tracked me down with a laser beam,' said Munk. 'I was a curiosity; I was different. Not because I was so great, let me tell you, I was fat, bald, poor, a boring engineering student.'"[36] The couple separated and reunited more than once in the 1960s, having three children and divorcing in 1970 but staying on very good terms. After the marriage was over, she pursued an academic career, becoming a professor of English at the University of Toronto.[37][38]

On June 26, 1973, Munk married his second wife, Melanie Jane Bosanquet, in London with whom he had two more children.[39][40] She is the cousin of Charles Palmer-Tomkinson, a British land-owner and Olympic skier. Munk skied for 71 years, and built with his wife in 1972 a ski chalet called Viti Levu in Klosters, which they consider home. It overlooks the mountain of Gotschnagrat.[41]

His children are: Anthony Munk, a senior managing director at Onex private equity, a board member of Barrick Gold,[42] and a co-investor in Porto Montenegro;[43] Marc-David Munk, a physician [44] and healthcare executive in the United States; [45] Nina Munk, a journalist and contributing editor for Vanity Fair and web entrepreneur;[46] Natalie, an artist; and Cheyne, a full-time mother.[47] In his late 70s Munk was fitted with a pacemaker.[41]

Death[edit]

Munk died in Toronto on March 28, 2018, at the age of 90.[48][49][50]

Post-humously, The Financial Post lauded him as "An entrepreneur with a Midas touch, he was one of Canada’s most high-flying, international deal makers, with friends ranging from Brian Mulroney and Prince Charles to the arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi and French billionaire Bernard Arnault, as well as one its most generous benefactors."[51]

Honours[edit]

He received several honorary degrees:

He became Officer of The Order of Canada (the country's highest civilian honour) in 1993 and was promoted to Companion in 2008;[54] received The Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship in 2002 (the first time awarded outside the U.S.); was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame. In 2012 Munk was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. His homeland awarded him the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary in 2016.[52]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Canadian Who's Who - Elizabeth Lumley - Google Books. Retrieved 2014-05-01 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b Csillag, Ron (28 March 2018). "PETER MUNK WAS KNOWN FOR HIS LOVE OF CANADA". The Canadian Jewish News.
  3. ^ Reguly, Eric (29 March 2018). "Peter Munk: The extraordinary life of a business legend, philanthropist and national champion". The Globe and Mail.
  4. ^ Austen, Ian (30 March 2018). "Peter Munk, 90, Dies; Built World's Biggest Gold Mining Company". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Ligaya, Armina. "Anna Porter on a Hungarian pariah", CBC News, September 21, 2006.
  6. ^ "Peter Munk, entrepreneur who founded world's largest gold producer, dies at 90". The Washington Post. 28 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Peter Munk Industrialist and Graduate". University of Toronto. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  8. ^ "About Peter Munk". Fraser Institute. 2016-11-18. Retrieved 2017-06-14.
  9. ^ Shanahan, Noreen (2017-03-26). "Linda Munk left the life of luxury to reinvent herself through the arts". The Globe and Mail. Toronto.
  10. ^ Pitts, Gordon (2008-04-18). "Peter Munk: The lessons from the Clairtone story". The Globe and Mail. Toronto.
  11. ^ "10 things you might not know about Peter Munk | Toronto Star". thestar.com. Retrieved 2017-06-14.
  12. ^ a b "Peter Munk's final play - Macleans.ca". Macleans.ca. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  13. ^ a b "My Father's Brilliant Mistake - Nina Munk". www.ninamunk.com. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  14. ^ Paulsson, Jan (2012). The Pyramids Case (PDF).
  15. ^ Newman, Peter (1998-10-19). Titans. Toronto: Viking Canada. ISBN 9780670883363.
  16. ^ Cave, Andrew (2008-02-26). "Midas Munk has a real heart of gold". The Telegraph. London.
  17. ^ "ICD - new PM Owner". portomontenegro.com. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  18. ^ Reguly, Eric (2016-05-01). "A mogul's last big deal: Peter Munk to sell Montenegro marina". Retrieved 2017-06-14.
  19. ^ http://www.lepoint.fr/economie/la-fantastique-fortune-de-barrick-gold-05-05-2011-1329711_28.php
  20. ^ a b https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/peter-munk-a-mining-magnate-nears-the-end-of-his-golden-reign/article17502857/?page=all
  21. ^ http://www.barrick.com/company/default.aspx
  22. ^ "Jolly gold giant". The Economist. 2008-04-17.
  23. ^ Gignac, Julien (19 Sep 2017). "Peter Munk donates $100 million to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre". The Star. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  24. ^ "Our Founding Donors," Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. Retrieved 30 Aug 2018. https://munkschool.utoronto.ca/about-munk/peter-and-melanie-munk/
  25. ^ "Peter Munk: Entrepreneur Who Founded Barrick Gold," Bloomberg, 28 March 2018. Retrieved 30 Aug 2018. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-28/peter-munk-entrepreneur-who-founded-barrick-gold-dies-at-90
  26. ^ Fraser Institute, 2016 Annual Report. Retrieved 15 Sept 2017. https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/fraser-institute-2016-annual-report.pdf
  27. ^ About Munk Debates, Munk Debates website. Retrieved 28 March 2018. https://www.munkdebates.com/About
  28. ^ Cole, Patrick (2006-05-30). "Barrick Gold's Peter Munk Gives $33.6 Mln to Toronto Hospital". Bloomberg.
  29. ^ "'Historic gift' of $100M made to Peter Munk Cardiac Centre". CBC News. 19 Sep 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  30. ^ "Meet Peter and Melanie Munk". www.uhn.ca. Retrieved 2017-06-14.
  31. ^ "Great Minds brainstorm corporate takedown". Archived from the original on 2013-01-15.
  32. ^ Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks, "Excerpt: The Trouble with Billionaires by Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks" Archived 2010-11-17 at the Wayback Machine., The Toronto Star, September 10, 2010
  33. ^ The Memorandum of Agreement between the Munk Foundation and the University is available on the University of Toronto's website and detailed critiques of the contract can be found online.
  34. ^ Caplan, Gerald "Money really can buy anything – even at the University of Toronto", Globe and Mail, December 17, 2010
  35. ^ Naylor, David. "President's Letter on Philanthropy at the University of Toronto". Office of the President, University of Toronto. Archived from the original on 10 March 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  36. ^ "Linda Munk left the life of luxury to reinvent herself through the arts" NOREEN SHANAHAN. The Globe and Mail 17 May 2013
  37. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1902&dat=19560817&id=C1IfAAAAIBAJ&sjid=RNIEAAAAIBAJ&pg=1186,5660399
  38. ^ "MUNK, Linda née Gutterson". The Globe and Mail. Toronto.
  39. ^ McLaren, Leah (2011-11-07). "Destination Munkistan: A look at Peter Munk's new Adriatic playground for the super-rich". torontolife.com. Archived from the original on 2014-03-14. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  40. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  41. ^ a b "Peter Munk: A mining magnate nears the end of his golden reign" ERIC REGULY. The Globe and Mail 15 March 2014
  42. ^ "Our Team: Anthony Munk". Onex. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  43. ^ Reguly, Eric (30 August 2014). "A superyacht sensation: Peter Munk's great sea adventure". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  44. ^ "Marc-David Munk, MD, MPH, MHCM". Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  45. ^ "Speaker/ Marc-David Munk". AHIP. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  46. ^ Carr, David (24 July 2006). "A Sideline That Competes With a Byline". Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  47. ^ Mclaren, Leah (7 Nov 2011). "Destination Munkistan: A look at Peter Munk's new Adriatic playground for the super-rich". Toronto Life.
  48. ^ "Barrick Gold Announces Passing Of Founder And Chairman Emeritus Peter Munk". RTTNews. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  49. ^ "Peter Munk, Barrick Gold founder, dies at 90". Global News. March 28, 2018.
  50. ^ Evans, Pete (March 28, 2018). "Barrick Gold founder Peter Munk dead at 90". CBC News.
  51. ^ Kuitenbrouwer, Peter "Barrick Gold founder Peter Munk, entrepreneur with a Midas touch, dies at the age of 90", The Financial Post, March 29, 2018. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  52. ^ a b c d e "Our Founding Donors - Peter and Melanie Munk". University of Toronto. Accessed March 28, 2018.
  53. ^ a b c "Barrick Gold founder and chairman Peter Munk dies at 90". Mining.com. Accessed March 28, 2018.
  54. ^ Lynch, Damian (2008-12-30). "Order of Canada honours for 'Wise Men'". Financial Post Magazine. Archived from the original on 2010-06-01.

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