While Walker is stepping away from Magna, he suggested that he would likely remain in the auto industry in some capacity. He told Automotive News Canada that he would be “looking at some new technologies” and would work on projects he is passionate about.
But he stressed he will not be seeking another operating role or a spot on a public company’s board.
A longtime critic of what he sees as the country’s overly burdensome red tape, Walker said he has ideas for the “future prosperity” of Canada and its auto industry.
“Parts manufacturers can actually be quite healthy — but will be healthier if our end customers [assembly plants] are located in Canada or … Michigan,” Walker said.
Volpe said he could see Walker taking on a “godfather position” for Canada’s auto industry.
“I don’t think he’s going anywhere,” Volpe said. “I think he feels a certain ownership over the future prosperity of the sector.
“The funny thing about Don is, here’s someone who runs one of the top three supplier companies in the world, but if I call him, he’ll pick up the phone. I don’t think that’s going to change.”
Walker serves as chairman of the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council, made up of auto executives and leaders from government, labor and retail to address issues of concern to the auto industry.
Wildeboer, a council member, has worked with Walker on several issues, most recently related to the pandemic.
He said he and Walker helped to come up with industrywide safety protocols that allowed for a safe return to manufacturing amid the pandemic.
“Both our companies and ourselves, as individuals, have a very singular focus on keeping this industry healthy and having this industry be healthy in Ontario and Canada,” Wildeboer said.