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Gerry Schwartz

Gerald W. Schwartz, OC (born 1941) is the founder, chairman and CEO of Onex Corporation. Schwartz has a net worth of US$1.6 billion, according to Forbes.

Early life and career

Schwartz was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He graduated from Kelvin High School in Winnipeg. He received his B.A. and LL.B. degrees from the University of Manitoba where he became an active brother of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. He later received an MBA degree from Harvard University in 1970.

In the 1970s, Schwartz worked at Bear Stearns, where he was mentored by Jerome Kohlberg, Jr., who later became a founding partner in Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Schwartz left Bear Stearns by 1977, returning to Canada. Along with Izzy Asper, Schwartz co-founded CanWest Global Communications in 1977.

In 1983, Schwartz founded Onex Corporation.

Schwartz has been a director of Scotiabank since 1999. In 2015, Schwartz's net worth was estimated at $1.78 billion, making him the 26th wealthiest person in Canada. As of 2015, he was the highest paid CEO in Canada.

Personal life

In 1982, Schwartz married Heather Reisman, Chief Executive of Indigo Books and Music. Schwartz has two children from his first marriage and two stepchildren from his marriage to Heather Reisman. The couple are members of the Reform synagogue, Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto.

Recognition

The Gerald Schwartz School of Business at St. Francis Xavier University was named in his honour in recognition of his donations to the university. In 2005, he was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2005 Ontario Lifetime Achievement award. In 2006, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Philanthropy

The gold, silver and bronze medals for top academic standing in the JD/MBA program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Rotman School of Management are named after Schwartz.

In 2005, he and Reisman started a scholarship program for IDF lone soldiers called the Heseg Foundation. In 2006, he made a donation to University of Waterloo for an exchange program between University of Waterloo and the University of Haifa.

Mount Sinai Hospital announced in December 2013 that a transformational $15 million gift from Schwartz and Reisman would be used to "reshape emergency medicine" at the facility.

The Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman Foundation donated $5.3 million to St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia in late 2018 to create scholarships, bursaries and increased recruitment of business students.

In March 2019, University of Toronto announced that Schwartz and Reisman were giving the university $100 million to build a 750,000-square foot innovation centre through The Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation. According to Reisman, the Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre will be used to improve technology, particularly Artificial intelligence, and how the public can relate to it. One of the two towers will house the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society and the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence while the other will include labs for research in regenerative medicine, genetics and precision medicine.