The former long-time Chairman of Westfield Corporation, a multinational shopping centre company with US$29.3 billion in assets under management in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe, Sir Frank P. Lowy AC (born October 22, 1930) is an Australian-Israeli businessman of Jewish Slovak-Hungarian ancestry. The French corporation Unibail-Rodamco purchased Westfield Corporation in June 2018. He served as the previous chairman of the Scentre Group, which owns and operates retail malls with the Westfield name in Australia and New Zealand.
Lowy was the richest Australian in 2010, and according to the Financial Review Rich List, he was the tenth-richest Australian in 2023 with an estimated net worth of A$9.33 billion. In January 2019, the Forbes Asia magazine estimated Lowy's net worth to be US$6.5 billion and ranked him fourth among Australia's 50 Richest People. The Lowy Institute, Australia's top think tank on international matters founded by Lowy, has been variously characterised as "neoliberal," "centrist," or "reactionary." In addition, Lowy serves as the head of the Institute for National Security Studies, a private academic organisation that researches important topics pertaining to Middle Eastern politics and Israel's national security.
Early Life & Education
Lowy was born in Czechoslovakia but spent World War II imprisoned in a ghetto in Hungary. In 1946, he travelled to France, where he boarded the Yagur for Mandatory Palestine. He was imprisoned in a detention facility in Cyprus after being apprehended by British officials while on the road. Lowy enlisted in the Haganah and then the Golani Brigade, serving in the Galilee and Gaza during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
In 1952, Lowy emigrated from Israel to Australia to join his family, who had already begun a modest business shipping products after leaving Europe. He got to know fellow immigrant John Saunders in 1953. As business partners, the two built a retail area in Blacktown, a suburb of Sydney, and eventually founded Westfield Development Corporation. After registering the business as Westfield Development Corporation on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1960, Lowy and Saunders built retail complexes all throughout Australia and the United States (starting in 1977). In 1987, Saunders sold his shares and departed the business.[Reference required] Lowy brought the business to New Zealand in the 1990s, then to the UK in the 2000s. Lowy began serving as a Reserve Bank of Australia Director in 1995; he was reappointed in 2000 and 2003; and his time was up in 2005. In documents taken from the LGT Bank of Liechtenstein in 2008 by a former employee, Lowy and associated interests were highlighted. The association of Lowy and his sons, David and Steven, with financial firms in tax havens in Liechtenstein and Switzerland was later the subject of an investigation by the US Senate and an audit by the Australian Taxation Office. Lowy insisted that he had done nothing wrong and that the dispute had been resolved amicably with the ATO.
After meeting Shirley Rusanow at a Jewish dance when he was 21 years old, Lowy wed her in 1954. They have three sons: Peter, Steven, and David, who handles the family's private interests in addition to managing the Westfield business. The Chai Foundation, which supports and funds research into efficient but less harmful cancer treatments, was founded by his wife. His son Peter served as head of the University of Judaism and is the chairman of Tribe Media Corp, the company that owns the Jewish Journal.
Since it was originally released in 1983, Lowy has been on the Financial Review Rich List, previously the BRW Rich 200 list, each year. With a net worth of A$5.04 billion in 2010, according to the BRW magazine, Lowy was the richest person in Australia at the time. His net worth was estimated at A$8.26 billion in 2016 for the BRW Rich 200 list, and it remained the same the following year for the Financial Review Rich List.