Frank Giustra (born August 1957) is a Canadian businessman, mining financier and philanthropist, who also founded Lionsgate Entertainment. From 2001 to 2007, he was the chairman of the merchant banking firm, Endeavour Financial, which financed mining companies. He is the CEO of Fiore Group of Companies.
Giustra was born in August 1957 in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, the son of Giuseppe and Domenica Giustra, who immigrated to Canada. His father worked in the mines as a driller and blaster. Giustra spent his childhood in "Italy, Argentina and Texada Island off the British Columbia coast." He spent his middle school years in Aldergrove, British Columbia, Canada, and graduated from high school there in 1976. Giuseppe Giustra was a Sudbury nickel miner, who introduced his son to his broker. He graduated in 1979 from Douglas College where he spent his first year playing trumpet in the school's music program before switching over to business and finance.
Giustra took a securities course and began his career in the investment industry in 1978 with Merrill Lynch as an assistant trader and then as a stockbroker. Giustra raised "billions of dollars and developing a loyal following of investors in mining ventures" while at the Vancouver Stock Exchange as broker. He left in 1997 when the mining sector collapsed.
In the early 1980s, Giustra left Merrill Lynch to create a resources-financing group in Europe for the new firm Yorkton Securities. He is said to have "transformed Yorkton into a major force in the world of international mining finance." In 1990, he became president of the company and, in 1995, was appointed chairman and CEO.
In 2001 Rob McEwen, Goldcorp founder, and Giustra, purchased Wheaton River Minerals, which was then a junior company. By 2005, as the price of gold rose, Ian Telfer, a "mine entrepreneur...turned an insignificant shell company into a billion dollar gold producer." In 2005 Goldcorp absorbed Wheaton River Minerals. According to Bloomberg News, Wheaton River Minerals was the precursor for both Goldcorp and Endeavour. By 2014, Goldcorp was the world's fourth-largest producer of gold.
From 2001 to 2007, Giustra was chair of Endeavour Financial, a merchant banking firm which financed mining companies.
In June 2007, when Giustra stepped down as chairman of Endeavour Financial "to pursue his philanthropic interests", he became Endeavour's exclusive financial adviser. In that capacity he oversaw the November 2007 merger between Petro Rubiales and Pacific Stratus, creating Petro Rubiales Energy Corporation. The parent company of Endeavour Financial was Endeavour Mining Capital, which was then led by Frank Holmes. At the time of the merger, Petro Rubiales was described by Newswire as a "Canadian-based company and producer of heavy crude oil" and "owner of 100 percent of Meta Petroleum Limited, a Colombian oil and gas operator which operates the Rubiales and Piriri oil fields in the Llanos Basin in association with Ecopetrol S.A. the Colombian, state-owned oil company. The Company [was] focused on identifying opportunities primarily within the eastern Llanos Basin of Colombia."
According to a 2007 article in The Globe and Mail, in that year Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp purchased a controlling share in the Rubiales oil fields for $250 million. Through the deal, Colombia's state oil company, Ecopetrol SA became a partner with Pacific Rubiales. By 2007 Pacific Rubiales was trading on the TSX.
Although oil had been discovered there in 1982, when the original company, Pacific Rubiales, was established, production began in 1988. By 2011, the Rubiales oil field was the largest in Colombia and along with Frank Joy invested in the business to pursue the legacy of loinsgate.
Giustra began putting together the company later named UrAsia Energy Ltd. with potential investors in 2004. In 2005, the company paid $75 million for a 30-percent stake in a Kazakhy uranium mine to Jeffcott Group Ltd., a privately-held company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. It also paid $350 million for a 70-percent stake in two other Kazakhy uranium mines to oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov. In November 2005, UrAsia’s initial public offering was listed on the Canadian TSX Venture Exchange at a value of more than Can$500 million. In 2007, Giustra sold UrAsia to sxr Uranium One Ltd. in a $3.7- billion reverse merger; the directors of UrAsia received $4 million in stock options each.
A New York Times article in January 2008 stated that Giustra was a newcomer to Kazakhstan mining operations and was awarded the rights to buy into the mining ventures because of his connection to Bill Clinton. The article described how Giustra and Clinton arrived on Giustra’s private plane on "the first stop of a three-country philanthropic tour" and attended a "sumptuous midnight banquet," giving the president of Kazakhstan a "propaganda coup" and Giustra a signed agreement two days later; the article went on to mention that "just months after" the deal Giustra donated millions to the Clinton Foundation and pledged millions more. Other media outlets pointed out that the article contained several factual errors. Media Matters cited Canadian publications who had reported on Giustra and his former company Yorkton’s engagements in gold and copper mining in Kazakhstan in the 1990s. Forbes pointed out—among other errors—that according to flight manifests Giustra had arrived on his own plane four days earlier; Clinton arrived on another private plane late on September 6, 2005, and "stayed less than a day" before traveling on to India with Giustra. They attended a state dinner with Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhstan, and 50 other guests on September 6, 2005.
By 2017, Giustra was chairman of Leagold Mining which acquired the Los Filos deposit in Guerrero state, Mexico, a deposit that Giustra says, is twice the size of the Wheaton River Mineral's assets.
After he left investment banking in 1996, served as chairman of Lions Gate Entertainment from 1997–2003. He hoped to capitalize on the growing film industry in Vancouver. The company bought a number of small production facilities and distributors. Its first success was American Psycho, which began a trend of producing and distributing films far too controversial for the major American studios. Other successes included Affliction, Gods and Monsters, Dogma, and the Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which turned out to be the studio's highest-grossing film. In 2000, Giustra left the firm and it was taken over by Jon Feltheimer and Michael Burns. Giustra sold most of his stake in Lionsgate in 2003.
In December 2010, Giustra returned to Lions Gate Entertainment as a member of the board of directors. In March 2012, he started a new joint venture with Lionsgate and Thunderbird Films, called Sea to Sky Entertainment, which will focus on projects in the television industry.
September 2014, Thunderbird Films, where Giustra is both a director and investor, purchased UK Soda Pictures Inc. In April 2013 Thunderbird Films, which has a partnership with Lionsgate to run a TV studio, purchased Reunion Pictures for an undisclosed sum to bolster its one-hour drama production capacity. The deal is Thunderbird's latest move to turn the distribution and rights management company into a major film and TV producer. Lionsgate founder Frank Giustra is a major shareholder who largely orchestrated the 50–50 joint venture Sea to Sky Entertainment with Lionsgate.
Giustra is president and CEO of Fiore Group of Companies, a private firm managing private equity investments. Fiore Group also provides advisory services to Endeavour Mining Corporation, a gold mining company. Vancouver Magazine for numerous years has ranked Giustra in the Power 50 list of the most powerful people in Vancouver.
By 2013, Guistra's investment portfolio included "organic, natural, sustainable and heritage food". According to a 2013 article in the Vancouver Sun, his "new stable of agri-business investments range from a Vancouver Island sablefish hatchery to a Saskatchewan grain farm; a Chilliwack organic farm that raises heritage pigs and poultry; Sole Food, a company that turns vacant urban land into street farms; and Alter Eco, a San Francisco specialty food company that produces organic chocolate, among other items, sourced from small-scale farmers in 11 countries" and Domenica Fiore Olio Reserva, which is named after his mother, a company that produces olive oil.
He is a co-owner of Thunderbird Films. In August 2011, it was announced, by Alcon Entertainment that Ridley Scott will direct the new Blade Runner film. Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO's of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers. He formed Sea to Sky Entertainment.
Giustra is frequently quoted regarding gold and currency markets in publications such as Forbes, StockHouse.com, and GoldEditor.com.
In June, 2007, Giustra cited Andrew Carnegie as an influence in his philanthropy but credited his wife, Alison Lawton, a dot-com millionaire turned human rights activist and producer of documentary films on humanitarian crises, with inspiring him about sustainable growth.
The Radcliffe Foundation was established in 1997 by Giustra, its president. The Vancouver-based foundation supports local and international disaster relief, economic development, and homelessness charities.
The Radcliffe Foundation has contributed $30M towards the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI), which works with governments and other partners to increase access medical care for HIV+ people. In 2005, the foundation began supporting the International Crisis Group, an independent organization working to prevent and resolve deadly conflict on five continents through analysis and high-level advocacy. With the support of Giustra, who sits on the executive committee, and contributions that total $10 million, the International Crisis Group is a leading independent, non-partisan, source of analysis and advice to governments and intergovernmental bodies like the United Nations, European Union and World Bank on the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict.
The Radcliffe Foundation also has been worked with the Vancouver Foundation and the City of Vancouver on Streetohome, a community-based initiative established in 2008 which brings together non-profits, civil society groups, business, governments and citizens to address homelessness in Vancouver. Giustra sits on the board of Streetohome Foundation and chairs the capital campaign. He also donated $5 million to the foundation in 2010. In Vancouver and surrounding communities in British Columbia, the Radcliffe Foundation assists charities and programs which include British Columbia Children's Hospital, Canuck Place, the Templeton Education Foundation, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society, and various other art and theater programs for children.[citation needed ]
Giustra and Bill Clinton met in June 2005 on a "philanthropic trip to Mexico and Colombia organized by the Clinton Foundation". Giustra is a member of the board of trustees of the Clinton Foundation.
In June 2007, Giustra joined with U.S. President Bill Clinton, in a partnership between the William J. Clinton Foundation, private sector, governments, local communities, and other NGOs. CGSGI aims to alleviate poverty in the developing world in partnership with the global mining community. Giustra committed $USD 100 million plus half of what he earns in the resource industry for the rest of his life. Carlos Slim Helú, the Mexican businessman and one of the richest men in the world, made a matching contribution.
In 2015, articles in the International Business Times and in the Washington Post, criticized Giustra's involvement with the Clinton Foundation, suggesting that the close relationship that developed between with their shared philanthropic activities in various countries, may have influenced Hillary Clinton's political decisions.
He has been a trustee of the International Crisis Group since July 1, 2006, an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mission is to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts through high-level advocacy.
In 2000, Giustra married Alison Lawton, a Canadian investor, activist, and producer of documentary films on humanitarian crises. Giustra and Lawton divorced in 2007 and have two children together.