Linda Hasenfratz isn’t afraid to take chances. Just as the auto industry morphs to provide new forms of transportation, she is reshaping Linamar into more than an automotive supplier, with products from farm equipment to wind-turbine hard-ware now generating one-third of its sales.
The diversification drive is showing mixed results. After propelling much of the Guelph, Ont.-based company’s revenue growth in 2018, Linamar’s nonautomotive sales fell 21.5 per cent in the latest quarter. But Hasenfratz, 53, understands that locking the company her father founded in 1966 to an automotive industry in rapid transition could be a riskier gamble. And given her success in building Linamar into a global giant with 29,000 employees, 60 plants and a growing emphasis on r&d — including a new iHub in Guelph that Hasenfratz says will focus on “the next step of innovation” — the odds appear to be on her side.