TORONTO -- Belinda Stronach resigned on Tuesday as president and chief executive of auto-parts maker Magna International and announced her candidacy for the leadership of Canada's Conservative Party.
Her father, Magna founder and chairman Frank Stronach, will become interim president until the company, the world's seventh-largest auto-parts manufacturer, finds a permanent replacement. Belinda Stronach's resignation is effective immediately, Magna said in a statement.
Merrill Lynch Analyst John Casesa said Magna has navigated numerous leadership changes in recent years -- Fred Gingle, John Doddridge, Don Walker and Jim Nicol -- "without missing an operating beat, and we think this time will be no different."
That's because the company is highly decentralized and unit leaders have considerable control over their operations. In the short term, the corporate management changes have little impact on plants, customer relationships and sales activities, he says. Moreover, the company is a family-controlled company and is run like one.
Stronach, 37, held a press conference on Tuesday to say she was joining the Conservative Party's leadership contest.
She will be the third candidate to throw their hat into the ring alongside Stephen Harper, who stepped down as Alliance Party leader to run, and former Ontario health minister Tony Clement.
Party members choose a new leader in March.
The Conservative Party was reborn early last month when Canada's two right-wing opposition parties -- the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives -- merged to challenge the ruling Liberals, who have been in power for a decade. A federal election is likely this spring.