TORONTO -- Magna International Chairman Frank Stronach said on Tuesday he was not worried about succession plans at the auto parts supplier but signaled he still was not ready to give up the reins of the company he founded nearly five decades ago.
Stronach, 71, said he merely served as an advisor to the firm where he is also the controlling shareholder. He said details of the succession process may be unveiled ahead of next year's annual meeting.
"There are lots of succession principles in place," he told Reuters after Magna's annual meeting.
But Stronach said it would be "quite a few years" before investors would see Magna without him at the helm.
"I'm very healthy, I enjoy what I can do," he said. "I'm just the chairman. I'm not the CEO. I'm basically just in an advisory capacity to the management team. Things are fine and I'm not worried on the succession of the future."
Asked whether he would step down in the next five to 10 years, Stronach said: "I don't do such short-term thinking."
Austrian-born Stronach began Magna as a one-man tool and die shop in 1957. Last year, it had sales of $20.7 billion.
Stronach last month stepped down as interim chief executive officer, a position held by his daughter, Belinda, who resigned last year to launch a political career.
He said Magna's executive management team -- structured as a partnership with co-chief executives, executive vice-chairmen and a Detroit-based president -- was set up in such a way that his successor, and future chairmen, would likely come from that group.
"In the day to day, I have relative little influence," he said. "The succession planning, naturally, that's the most difficult but I think that it's reasonable and we've got things in a good structure."
Speaking after Magna reported weaker first quarter profits but higher sales, Stronach fired back at critics who complained about Magna's dual-class share structure and Stronach's high pay package. The Stronach family controls the auto parts maker through the class B shares.
About 54 percent of the class A shareholders, such as the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, voted against Magna's proposed slate of directors to its board. Stronach said institutional investors should try to encourage entrepreneurship rather than stifling them or consider investing elsewhere.
"If I don't like the restaurant, I'm not going to go in there and eat," he told reporters.