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Biography of Sir Donald GORDON

South Africa > Business : Sir Donald GORDON

Sir Donald GORDON
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Born on 24/06/1930 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Sir Donald Gordon (b. June 24, 1930) , is a South African property , insurance magnate and philantropist. He has been awarded a knighthood for his service to the arts and business.

Honorary Life President: Liberty International PLC, UK; Hon Life President: Liberty Group Ltd; He was awarded a knighthood in 2005 in recognition of his services to the arts and business.;

Accountant by training, founded life insurance company Liberty Life at age 27 with $120,000. Built it into a leading South African financial company; sold out in 1999. Founded London-listed Liberty International, now one of the largest regional shopping center companies in Europe, in 1980s. Retired as chairman in June 2005 on 75th birthday, though still holds 21% stake and appointed president for life. Celebrated milestone with party at Royal Opera House, where he is a donor. Dual citizen of South Africa and U.K. Knighted in June. Staff of eight looks after his personal investments; in past year, has been investing in currencies. Buying new $45 million Falcon 7X airplane to shuttle between homes in London, Florida and South Africa.

Gordon, who holds both UK and South African citizenship, built up two successful business empires, Liberty Life in South Africa and top UK property company Liberty International.
Gordon has made significant donations to British opera.

The Sunday Times reported that his £20-million (R248-million) sponsorship of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden and the renamed Donald Gordon Opera Theatre in Cardiff
t is believed that this is the largest single private donation ever made to the arts in the UK.
Gordon retired from Liberty Life in 1999, but still contributes to many South African charities.

The Donald Gordon Foundation, formed in the early 1970s, is the largest private charity in Southern Africa.

The Sunday Times reports that its donations include R100-million to Wits University for the Donald Gordon Medical Centre.

The Gordon Institute of Business Science is named in recognition of Gordon's contribution to South African business, and Gordon's R30-million endowment to the institute.

In 1957 Gordon, a chartered accountant by profession, founded Liberty Life Association of Africa with initial capital of R100 000. By the time he retired as chair of Liberty Life in 1999, the company was valued at over R40-billion.

At the time Liberty Life was the largest listed life company and the third-largest life insurance company in South Africa, and was also listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Gordon co-founded UK company Abbey Life Insurance, which has since become one of the largest life companies in the UK and is a major subsidiary of Lloyds Bank.

In 1980 Gordon founded Liberty International, a £5-billion (R62-billion) shopping centre and commercial real estate business and the third-largest property company in the UK.

.In October 2000 Gordon received the UK Entrepreneur of the Year Special Award for Lifetime Achievement. In December 1999 he was cited as the "Achiever of the Century in South African Financial Services" by the Financial Mail, the leading South African business journal.

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Last update : 09/22/2008

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