Sir Gordon Charles Brunton KBE (born 27 December 1921 in London) is a British businessman, publisher and racehorse owner/breeder.
During World War II he was commissioned into the RA in 1940 and served in the Indian Army and Royal Artillery regiments in the Burma campaign before joining the Military Government in Düsseldorf and Hamburg.
Thomson Organization and Times Newspapers
Appointed Managing Director Thomson Publications 1961, Director Thomson Organization 1963, Chairman Thomson Travel 1965-68, Director Times Newspapers Ltd. 1967-81 and served as Chief Executive from 1966-1984 during the Thomson period of global expansion and diversification into print, book and magazine publishing. This included local directories Thomson Local and Yellow Pages, the package tour businesses Thomson Holidays now TUI AG establishing the charter air carrier Britannia Airways. Most importantly he instigated the North Sea oil ventures with the late Dr Armand Hammer Occidental Petroleum and J. Paul Getty in the consortium concerning the Piper Alpha and Claymore fields and the Flotta Refinery.
He performed the lead management role in the prolonged print union conflict of The Times and Sunday Times during the late 1970s. Management took a particularly hard stance against militant elements of unions, which resulted in the closure of the loss making Times Newspapers for extended periods of time.
The losses at the Times eventually led to the decision of the Thomson family to sell both titles to News International of which Brunton acted as the chief negotiator for Thomson.
Murdoch was identified as the only viable buyer for the Times and Sunday Times, as he provided assurances that both titles would remain in single ownership and in circulation.
During Gordon Brunton's era at the International Thomson Organisation, the company established a number of important community redevelopment and local economic regeneration programmes including a highly successful scheme in Neath, South Wales. Neath had suffered one of the highest rates of unemployment in the United Kingdom, the scheme helped to re-skill and train workers across a diverse range of new industries. It invested in new technologies such as computers. Thomson sought sponsorship from other large corporations to partner in the scheme.
Brunton retired from Thomson in 1985. He has been credited as being a major architect in the construction and diversification of the Thomson Corporation during the firms years as a conglomerate.
Gordon Brunton's reputation of being a skilled negotiator resulted in undertaking a role at troubled auction house Sotheby's as Chairman. During this turbulent period Brunton made enforced cuts and personnel changes to bring stability to a business which had been judged to have been poorly mismanaged. He succeeded auctioneer Peter Wilson. His role was to stabilize the business and latterly hold off the well documented 1983 hostile takeover bid from New Jersey carpet and felt makers Marshall Cogan and Stephen Swid of General Felt Industries and Knoll International. The Board consensus was neither Cogan or Swid were suitable buyers and eventually the company was sold to real estate developer A. Alfred Taubman.
Awarded: KBE 1985
Club: Garrick Club
Fellow: London School of Economics
Recreations: Books, breeding horses
- Who's Who 2006
- Susan Goldenberg, The Thomson Empire: A Multi Billion Dollar Canadian Dynasty (Sidgwick & Jackson, London 1984)
- Lord Thomson of Fleet Roy Thomson, After I Was Sixty: Autobiography (Collins, London 1964)
- John Grigg, The History of the Times Volume V1 The Thomson Years 1966-1981 (Times Books, London 1993)
- William Shawcross Murdoch: The Making of a Media Empire (Simon & Schuster, USA 1992)
- Oliver Woods & James Bishop, The Story of The Times (Michael Joseph, London 1983)
- Denis Hamilton Editor-in-Chief, Fleet Street Memoirs (Hamish Hamilton, London 1989)
- Robert Lacey Sotheby’s: Bidding For Class (Little Brown, New York 1998)
- Bruce Page, The Murdoch Archipelago (Simon & Schuster, London 2003)
- Graham Stewart, The History of The Times: The Murdoch Years, (Harper Collins Publishers Limited 2005)
- Woodrow Wyatt edited Sarah Curtis, The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt Volume One (Macmillan, London 1998)
- Bray and Reitz, Flight to the Sun (Continuum London 2001)
- Ian Ormes, Chartered Success (Granta Editions, August 2002)
- James Lambie, The Story of Your Life: A History of the Sporting Life Newspaper (1859-1998) (Matador, September 2010)