Magna International's founder Frank Stronach plans to step down as chairman after the company's annual meeting in May, according to a filing made by the firm Thursday.

Stronach founded the company more than 50 years ago.

Stronach, 78, will stay on the board as honorary chairman and founder, according to the company's circular for its annual meeting stated for May 4 in Markham, Ont.

The directors will choose a new chairman from among themselves, the circular said, with a restructured board consisting of 10 directors including eight independent members.

"This is a significant change in the ongoing evolution of Magna," Mike Harris, Magna's lead director, said in the circular.

Last year, the Austrian-born entrepreneur and his family trust gave up control of the auto parts company which he founded in his garage in 1957.

Earlier Thursday, the Ontario Superior Court approved an arrangement which saw Stronach also give up control of MI Developments in exchange for about $1 billion in cash and shares, as well as control over a joint venture that will develop components for electric vehicles.

Stronach became one of Canada's richest people by building Magna into one of the world's largest suppliers of auto parts.

With files from The Canadian Press