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Some unsolicited advice to 80-year-old plastics entrepreneurs

By: Don Loepp

August 22, 2013

Billionaire plastics company entrepreneurs typically don't come to me for advice, and I'm OK with that. But today I'm going to offer an unsolicited suggestion to a particularly high-profile 80-year-old former plastics company executive.

Keep your shirt on. No one wants to see that.

The guy without the shirt, in this case, is Frank Stronach, the founder of Aurora, Ontario-based automotive supplier Magna International Inc.

You may recall that Stronach is not actively involved at Magna anymore, because he's moved on to a career in politics. He leads a new party called Team Stronach für Österreich (Team Stronach for Austria) that is trying to court Austrian voters in the upcoming Sept. 29 election.

Stronach, perhaps inspired by the example set by Russian President Vladimir Putin -- or maybe just trying to make a point that while he's 80 years old, he's still in great shape -- recently took off his shirt for Austrian newspaper photographers.

The photos caused a stir, and inspired one of Stronach's rivals -- 42-year-old Heinz-Christian Strache -- to pose without his shirt, too.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that voters may be amused by the idea of candidates stripping down for attention, but it's not going to translate into votes. We believe you're healthy and in great shape for your age. You don't have to go that far to prove it. Ronald Reagan managed just fine in a flannel shirt, chopping wood and driving horses around his ranch.

"I don't need to be ashamed of my body," Stronach told the newspapers, and he's right.

But I'm still hoping he doesn't start a trend of 80-something plastics executives sending sans-shirt photos to Plastics News.

I promise you, we aren't going to print them. Save those for your Facebook page.