peter munk
Peter Munk


Barrick Gold Founder and Chairman Emeritus Peter Munk died on March 28 in Toronto surrounded by his family. He was 90.

Munk was born in Budapest in 1927, but his family fled the country after Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944. They escaped to Switzerland, but eventually settled in Toronto in 1948 when he was 20 years old. An immigrant with no social connections or a command of English, Munk nevertheless previously said he felt welcomed by Canadians and in 2011, said, “This is a country that does not ask about your origins, but concerns itself with your destiny.”

He founded Barrick in 1983 and built it into the world’s largest gold mining company in less than 25 years. He did so by leading a small team of partners who trusted one another implicitly and who together balanced boldness and prudence in the pursuit of fierce entrepreneurial ambitions.

Having come to the industry as an outsider, Munk defied its conventions and implemented an innovative hedging program that helped to propel Barrick to success. As the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, which inducted Munk into its ranks in 2002, noted, “He transformed the industry that made him a titan into something it had never been before — a financially sophisticated business able to compete with other industries for investment capital.”

One of Canada’s most significant philanthropists, Munk donated nearly $300 million to causes and institutions that were close to his heart. For his leadership as an entrepreneur and philanthropist, Munk received numerous awards and honors, including honorary doctorates from the University of Toronto, Concordia University, Bishop’s University, and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. In 2008, he was named a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor, limited to no more than 165 living Canadians at any one time.

Munk is survived by Melanie, his wife of 45 years; by his five children; and by his 14 grandchildren.

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