Jack Cowin, a Canadian-Australian businessman and entrepreneur, was born on July 13, 1942. He has a lengthy history of engagement with franchised fast food franchises in both Australia and Canada. Before its 2005 debut on the ASX, Cowin had variously managed the Domino's Pizza franchise in Australia, developed and owns Hungry Jack's, the Burger King franchise in Australia, and imported KFC to that country. Along with upstream Australian investments in cattle stations and food processing, Cowin also owns a portion of the Canadian Lone Star Texas Grill network of eateries. One of the largest privately held companies in Australia, Competitive Foods Australia, is led by Cowin. Cowin has also invested in and worked as a non-executive director for Australia's Ten Network. From 2015 until 2019, Cowin presided as Chancellor of the University of Western Ontario.
Early Life And Career
Cowin was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, on July 13, 1942. His father, Stanley J. Cowin, who was briefly deployed to Australia by Ford, later persuaded his son to think about moving there. In 1964, Cowin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario. Cowin spent four years in Toronto selling insurance for London Life before deciding to travel to Australia to look at potential business opportunities. While on vacation in Sydney, he noticed enormous lines at a Chinese takeaway shop and felt sure that fast food would be successful. At the age of 26, Cowin travelled back to Australia to assess whether Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) should enter the country's fast food sector.
He travelled to Western Australia with his wife and young kid, purchased the rights to create ten KFC franchises there, and funded CA$10,000 from thirty Canadians each to start the firm in December 1969. These original investors had an investment worth about A$8.9 million as of March 2006. After opening eight KFC locations, he acquired the Burger King franchise. Cowin renamed the establishments Hungry Jack's after learning that someone else possessed Burger King trademark rights in Australia. Years later, he got into a fight with Burger King over the chain's name and other matters that eventually led to a favourable resolution. In an interview with The Billion Dollar, he discusses this.
Cowin has had non-executive directorships in the Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Chandler MacLeod, TEN Television Network, and Fairfax Media. He serves as the chairman and the company's major shareholder. He also serves as a director and a 40% shareholder of BridgeClimb Sydney, which runs a well-known tourism destination in Sydney.
Cowin, who has fathered four children with his wife Sharon, resides in Sydney. The University of Western Ontario, Cowin's alma mater, awarded him a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) degree in 2000. From September 2015 to May 2019, Cowin served as the university's 22nd chancellor. He made a contribution to the university to cover the cost of stands for the new football pitch, which bears his father Stanley J. Cowin's name. Involved in the World Presidents Organisation is Cowin.
Cowin, who was rated as the 22nd richest Australian, has a net worth of A$4.36 billion as of May 2023, according to the Financial Review Rich List. Cowin's net worth was estimated by Forbes Asia to be US$1.7 billion in 2019. He was listed as the 23rd richest Australian by net worth.