As the Barrick founder prepares his exit, a look back at his wide-ranging ventures
Peter Munk, left, was born into a wealthy Jewish family in Budapest in 1927. His family later escaped Nazi persecution by fleeing to Switzerland on the Kastner train, which carried roughly 1,700 Jews to safety in 1944.
Mr. Munk, third from left, arrived in Canada at age 20, later graduating from the University of Toronto with a degree in electrical engineering.
Mr. Munk co-founded Clairtone Sound Corp., a manufacturer of high-quality sound systems, in 1958. Despite rave reviews and celebrity endorsements, Clairtone struggled financially and closed in the early 1970s.
Throughout the 1970s, Mr. Munk built a hotel empire in the South Pacific, which included the Travelodge chain in Australia. In 1981, Mr. Munk and his partners unloaded the Southern Pacific Hotel Corp. for $130-million (U.S.).
Mr. Munk’s holding company acquired real estate firm Trizec Corp. for $750-million in 1994. Trizec would become a real estate income trust with 61 U.S. office towers in its portfolio. When it was sold in 2006 for $4.8-billion (U.S.), Mr. Munk personally netted more than $320-million (Canadian).J.P. Moczulski/The Globe and Mail
Mr. Munk is perhaps best known for Barrick Gold Corp., a mining firm he founded in 1983. What started with a small stake in a Northern Ontario mine has evolved into the world’s largest gold producer.Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail
Under Mr. Munk’s leadership, Barrick made several billion-dollar deals, including the purchases of Lac Minerals Ltd. and Placer Dome Inc. More recently the company has been forced to record costly writedowns and to suspend construction at its key Pascua Lama gold mine in South America.Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail
As Barrick’s stock price has dropped, agitated shareholders have pushed for management change at the miner, including with Mr. Munk himself. On Dec. 4, Barrick announced the details of a major boardroom overhaul, replacing founder Peter Munk and two other long-standing directors and appointing a new chief operating officer in one of the biggest shakeups in its 30-year old history.Chris Young/The Canadian Press
Mr. Munk and other high-profile investors have transformed Tivat, a coastal town in Montenegro, into a seaside playground for the über-rich. In 2008, Mr. Munk revealed his personal investment in the project at between €50-million and €75-million.Jim Ross/The Globe and Mail
Mr. Munk’s influence extends beyond the business world. His name is attached to the Munk Debates, an annual debate series featuring intellectual heavyweights; the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, a hub for cardiovascular care, education and research in Toronto; and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail