Peter Munk had an uncanny ability to spot opportunities, the drive to pursue grand visions and the courage to create.
When Mr. Munk died in March 2018, at the age of 90, he left a sweeping legacy – as founder of the world's largest gold producer, financial saviour of one of the largest international property developers, builder of Porto Montenegro (a superyacht marina on the Adriatic coast dubbed "the new Monaco" by Forbes), and a prominent philanthropist who helped make Canada a global leader in cardiovascular care and research.
Unlike many billionaires who make their wealth in a single industry, Mr. Munk pursued disparate ventures in numerous countries and succeeded across multiple sectors.
In the early 1980s, when he founded what would become Barrick Gold Corp., he made a point of letting people know that, in contrast to most executives in the field, he wasn't a "gold bug." He looked at the gold-mining business with an outsider's clarity and decided the best way to attract investors to the notoriously volatile sector was to limit both risk and upside by hedging against the future price of gold.
Other producers thought he was crazy. Why would you build a gold business and then bet against the precious metal? But the market had the answer: In Barrick's first 10 years as a public company, its valuation soared. By 1993, 10 years after Barrick's initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE), $1 initially invested in the company was worth $158.
When his holding company acquired real-estate giant Trizec Corp. in 1994, he was, by his own admission, "not a real estate guy." Nevertheless, the firm, renamed TrizecHahn, quickly acquired an expansive portfolio of such iconic properties as Chicago's Sears Tower, the Watergate Office Building in Washington, D.C., and management of Toronto's CN Tower.
Mr. Munk was a risk-taker, but his keen eye for opportunity seldom let him down.
"Peter Munk is in the business business," Canadian corporate chronicler Peter C. Newman wrote in 1996. "[He has] a sixth sense of knowing when and where and how to move."
The fourth Peter Munk Cardiac Centre magazine, published by The Globe and Mail, is here. Flip through its (digital) pages to read more about a day in the life of PMCC, game-changing devices, precision medicine and a tribute to our namesake, Peter Munk.
The magazine is now available online.