11/09/2012 10:25AM

Stronach steps down as chairman of auto-parts company Magna International


Frank Stronach, the billionaire horse and racetrack owner, has resigned as chairman of the board of directors of Magna International, the publicly traded auto-parts company he founded.

Stronach, 80, cited his recent political activity in his native Austria for the decision to resign. Stronach is seeking a seat in the country’s parliament as head of a new conservative political party that supports Austria’s abandonment of the euro for a return to the schilling.

Two years ago, Stronach reached an agreement with the board of Magna to surrender his Class A supervoting shares in the company for a payment of nearly $900 million. Under the previous structure, Stronach controlled 66 percent of the voting stock in the company while holding only 1 percent of the equity.

“It has been two years since control of Magna has changed hands and, in that time, I have become involved in numerous activities outside of the automotive industry,” Stronach said in a statement accompanying the company’s third-quarter financial results. “One of these activities involves politics in Austria, and I do not want my political views to be confused with my role on Magna’s board.”

Stronach, who has won multiple Eclipse Awards as an owner and breeder, also owns a number of racetracks and racing companies through the privately held Stronach Group, including Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park, Golden Gate Fields, Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course, a half-share in HRTV, and the bet-processing company AmTote. The Stronach Group was created after Stronach bought the distressed assets from a publicly traded company he controlled, MI Developments.