Sir Frank Lowy: the community congratulates him

June 18, 2017 by J-Wire Staff
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The Chairman of Westfield Corporation, Mr Frank Lowy AC, said today he was deeply honoured to be appointed a Knight Bachelor by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the Birthday Honours List…and the community’s leaders have expressed have their congratulations.

Sir Frank Lowy

Frank Lowy’s citation reads:

“Frank Lowy is recommended for his contribution to the UK economy through the company he founded, Westfield, and its major investments in the UK. The group has opened Europe’s two largest urban shopping centres, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City and has recently submitted a planning application for a new one billion pound plus retail development in Croydon which will create thousands more jobs. He has also been involved in a number of philanthropic activities in the UK including with the Cabinet Office War Rooms, the Imperial War Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.”

Frank Lowy said he felt humbled by the appointment and believed the recognition should be shared with the thousands of Westfield staff who helped contribute to the company’s success in the United Kingdom.

“No individual alone can achieve the things we have in London,” he said.

“Our first centre in London was opened on the eve of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 yet has thrived ever since.

“Our second centre at Stratford City played a key role in the development of the site for the 2012 London Olympics and has been a catalyst for the rejuvenation of the whole of east London and now serves as a major community and job creation centre.

“We look forward to advancing our planning application for a new centre at Croydon and to further investment and job creation in the future.”

Mr Lowy said he had a deep and abiding respect and affection for the United Kingdom.

“I had been trying to establish a business in the UK since the mid-1970s but for various reasons it wasn’t until 2000 that we finally made it.

“That breakthrough was enormously satisfying, and I’m proud that we have been able to make such a powerful economic contribution, as well as support a number of very worthy philanthropic projects.”

Mr Lowy said the genesis of his regard for the UK was listening to the BBC World Service as a young boy in war-torn Eastern Europe.

He recalls that as a child he would huddle around a radio in a bunker, listening to the chimes of Big Ben in London introduce the latest war news.

“It always gave us hope that help was on the way, and that the war would end in our favour,” he said.

“From that time on I associated the British people with freedom and humanity and the sound of those chimes brings back those memories to this very day,” he said.

“On behalf of my colleagues at Westfield and my family, I want to place on record my appreciation for this honour and re-commit myself and our company to making a contribution to the economy and people of the UK.”

Peter Lowy, Boris Johnson [now the UK Foreign Minister], Frank Lowy and Steven Lowy at the opening of Westfield Stratford in 2011

 Frank Lowy was born in what is now Slovakia in 1930 and survived World War II living with his mother in Budapest and evading capture by the Nazis. His father and many other family members died in concentration camps.

In 1946 he made his way to France where he boarded a refugee ship bound for Palestine. He was detained on arrival by British authorities and interned in a detention camp in Cyprus. He later made his way to Palestine, joined the Golani Brigade and fought in the 1948 War of Independence which led to the establishment of the State of Israel.

In 1952 Lowy left Israel for Australia and started a business delivering small goods. In 1953, he met fellow immigrant John Saunders. In 1960 they created Westfield Development Corporation and developed shopping centres throughout Australia before expanding to the United States in the 1970s, New Zealand in the mid-1990s and the United Kingdom in 2000.

Lowy remains Chairman of Westfield Corporation, now one of the world’s leading retail property companies. It owns and operates a portfolio of 35 shopping centres in the United Kingdom and United States valued at US$31billion. In 2014 the global Westfield Group was reorganised to separate its Australian and New Zealand operations from its US and UK business. Westfield shopping centres in Australia and NZ today are owned and operated by new entity, Scentre Group.

In 2000 Lowy was awarded Australia’s highest civilian honour being made a Companion in the Order of Australia (AC) for services to business and philanthropy.

He has served in several corporate, community and philanthropic roles in Australia and internationally, including as Chairman of Football Federation Australia (2003-2015); as founder and Chairman of the Lowy Institute for International Policy; Chairman of the Institute for National Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv; and, founder and Chairman of the Lowy Medical Research Institute.

He served two five-year terms as a member of the board of Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia.  He also served for 10 years as a Director of UK media group, Daily Mail and General Trust plc (UK) until 2007.

In 1999 the University of New South Wales conferred upon him an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in recognition of his contribution to business and the community.

Mr Lowy is married to Shirley and lives in Sydney. They have three sons – David, Peter and Steven.

Anton Block, the president of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry said: “We warmly congratulate Frank Lowy on being made a Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. This is a singular honour and one that befits the immense contribution Mr Lowy has made as an innovator, a creator and a philanthropist. His achievements have transformed industries and economies and his support for scientific, cultural and humanitarian causes has enriched us all.”

National Chairman of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Mark Leibler told J-Wire:  “Sir Frank Lowy is a great Australian, a leading philanthropist, a strong supporter of Israel and a magnificent contributor to so many worthwhile Jewish causes. Sir Frank has guided Westfield for decades to the point that it has become a world leader in the construction and management of shopping centres. I warmly congratulate Sir Frank on being knighted for services to British business and Philanthropy. It is a well deserved honour, not only for the reasons noted in the citation, but because of Sir Frank’s wide-ranging contributions to so many worthwhile causes. I wish my friend Sir Frank continuing success and good health.”  Executive directorDr Colin Rubenstein added: “Sir Frank’s knighthood is a fitting tribute honouring the same vision, commitment , energy and generosity that he has demonstrated throughout the civilised and Jewish worlds and made him such a towering and respected figure internationally. Our heartiest congratulations  to him and his family on this wonderful acknowledgement of his remarkable accomplishments”.

Rabbi Levi Wolff, the spiritual leader of the Central Synagogue in Sydney said: “The truth is this comes as no real surprise to me.  Sir Frank Lowy has always had a wide philanthropic vision that spans oceans and diverse causes. It’s befitting and becoming that he is bestowed with this most deserving honour. The Central Synagogue shares in the celebration of knighthood on one of our distinguished members and we look forward to marking this honour when Sir Frank Lowy returns from overseas to Australia.”

The president of the Zionist Federation of Australia Dr Danny Lamm added: “Sir Frank Lowy is a great philanthropist , benefactor of Australia’s Jewish community and supporter of the State of Israel. The ZFA is delighted for the honour accorded to Sir Frank and his family.”

Over 45 years, Frank Lowy served as inspirational leader to the young Harold Finger who played soccer with Frank Lowy’s sons for Hakoah, a club which the shopping magnate served as its president. Now the Federal President of the United Israel Appeal, Harold Finger told J-Wire Frank Lowy’s inspirational qualities still serve him to this day. He said: “Frank Lowy was one of the first federal presidents of the UIA over twenty years ago and we do not launch a campaign without advice from Frank. He is the Life Governor of  UIA  in NSW and to this day he takes a personal interest of every campaign including the choice of the keynote speakers. His words of advice are second to none. The honour of a knighthood is richly deserved.”

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