Linda Hasenfratz (BSc’89, MBA’97) is powering growth in Canada’s automotive sector. Since she became CEO of Linamar Corporation, her team’s strategies have quadrupled corporate sales. With more than 25,000 employees at 57 facilities worldwide, she is a respected business leader in her community and country. And her drive for success started at Western.
Linda Hasenfratz, BSc’89, MBA’97, has led Linamar Corporation as its chief executive officer since August 2002, after serving as the firm’s president since April 1999. From September 1997 to September 1999, Hasenfratz was also chief operating officer.
The Guelph, Ont.-based multinational company manufactures precision-machined components, modules and systems for engine, transmission and chassis systems primarily for the North American and European automotive marketplace. Ms. Hasenfratz’s father, Frank, who started the company four decades ago as a one-person business in his basement, named the company for his family, daughters Linda and Nancy and wife Margaret.
Ms. Hasenfratz completed an Executive MBA from the Ivey Business School in 1997 and an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in 1989 from Western University. The analytical and strategic planning skills gained during the MBA program in combination with practical skills gained at Linamar are key factors in Ms. Hasenfratz’ executive development.
After graduating from Western, Ms. Hasenfratz worked one year with a pharmaceutical company. She initially turned down her father’s offer to work for the business, “then I realized it was foolish to turn my back on a company that was growing so quickly” (Financial Post, Sept. 11/2004).
Hasenfratz joined Linamar in July 1990 and embarked on an extensive training program to gain familiarity with all aspects of the business holding positions ranging from machine operator to general manager of the firm’s Vehcom and Comtech manufacturing divisions.
Since Ms. Hasenfratz assumed corporate level responsibilities, Linamar sales have grown from $800 million to more than $3.2 billion with more than 25,000 employees in 57 manufacturing locations around the world. The corporation has undergone significant change in terms of formalization, development, communication and execution of a vision and strategy for future growth as well as development of communication, performance management and operating systems utilized throughout the company.
Hasenfratz’s board and council memberships include the CIBC Board of Directors, Royal Ontario Museum Foundation Board of Directors, and Canadian Advisory Board of Catalyst, Inc. She has been a director of Linamar since 1998.
In December 2015, she was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame as was her father, Frank. Hasenfratz was also the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 National Award winner and named one of the ‘Powerful 50’ Women in Canada by the Financial Post in 2001 and 2002. She was honoured with Canada's Top 40 Under 40 award in 2002, and Best of the Best Top 40 Under 40 in 2005 and 2008. She was named National Post CEO of the Year in 2003 and was among Canada’s Top 50 Influential Women in 2003 and 2004.
In 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Linda as one of 10 CEOs representing Canada on the North American Competitiveness Council. That year, she was also the recipient of the Guelph YMCA/YWCA Women of Distinction award.
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