Donald Gordon (South African businessman)

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Sir Donald Gordon (born 24 June 1930[1] ) is a South African businessman and philanthropist.


Educated at King Edward VII School in Johannesburg[2] before doing his articles to be a Chartered Accountant at the firm Kessel Feinstein (Now Grant Thornton).[2]

He founded the Liberty Life Association of Africa in 1957[3] out of which he formed Transatlantic Insurance Holdings plc, now Liberty International, in 1980.[3]

He was behind the development of Sandton City, one of the most successful shopping centres in the world. [4]

Gordon was a director of the Guardian Royal Exchange Group for 24 years and chaired their South African subsidiary, Guardian National Insurance Company.[3]

Other interests[edit]

The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in Johannesburg, South Africa was established in January 2000 following a substantial contribution by Donald Gordon and a major investment by the University of Pretoria.[5][6]

In 2004, Gordon gave the Royal Opera House and Wales Millennium Centre a collective donation of £20 million payable over five years.[7] This is believed to be one of the largest single private donation ever made to the arts in the UK.[7] Sir Donald has had the Grand Tier at the Royal Opera House[8] as well as the main auditorium of the Wales Millennium Centre named after him.[9]

He currently resides in London.[3]

Awards and recognition[edit]

At the 2000 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in London, Gordon received the Entrepreneur of the Year Special Award for Lifetime Achievement. He received an honorary doctorate of economic science from the University of the Witwatersrand and an honorary doctorate in commerce from the University of Pretoria. In 1968 he was named 'Business Man of the Year' by the South African Sunday Times. In 1999 he was named as 'The Achiever of the Century in South African Financial Services' by South African Financial Mail.[3]

In June 2005, he was awarded a knighthood in recognition of his services to arts and business.[3]


  1. ^ Sir Donald Gordon's Biography, Debrett's. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b Donald Gordon: Liberty for All Archived October 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Financial Inspiration website.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Donald Gordon: CV
  4. ^
  5. ^ Gordon Institute of Business Science Retrieved 15 September 2009
  6. ^ The Gordon Institute of Business Science
  7. ^ a b £20m boost for arts centres BBC News, 16 November 2003
  8. ^ Statement by Tony Hall, Chief Executive Archived May 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Royal Opera House, 6 April 2004
  9. ^ The Donald Gordon Theatre Archived December 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]