Frank HasenfratzClick image to enlarge

Frank Hasenfratz, founder of Canadian auto parts manufacturer Linamar, has passed away at the age of 86 after a long battle with cancer.

Hasenfratz fled his native Hungary in 1956 when the USSR crushed the Hungarian uprising. After living briefly in Austria and Italy, he immigrated to Canada in 1957, where he started out working on a farm. After landing a job as a tool and die maker on the Avro Arrow project and moving on to automotive parts, he founded Linamar in his basement in 1966. Today the $5-billion company has 26,000 employees and operates in 17 countries around the world, with 60 manufacturing facilities and a dozen R&D centres.

Over the years, Hasenfratz was honoured as Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year and was inducted into the Canadian Manufacturing Hall of Fame and the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. He was also appointed to the Order of Canada.

Hasenfratz, who died in his Guelph home on Jan. 8, was executive chairman of Linamar at the time of his death. The company says a succession plan will be put in place in the next several weeks.

Read the company announcement here.

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