Sir Donald Gordon remembered

Legacy of late business leader and philanthropist to live on in perpetuity

The London Business School (LBS) community has paid tribute to late business leader and philanthropist Sir Donald Gordon.

The long-time supporter of the School passed away on 21 November 2019 at the age of 89.

Born in South Africa in 1930, Sir Donald Gordon transformed the insurance and property landscapes of both South Africa and the UK throughout his many years in business. He was the founder of the Liberty Life Association of Africa and later Liberty International, and was a director of the Guardian Royal Exchange Group for more than two decades.

Sir Donald was also a fervent supporter of the Wales Millennium Centre and the Royal Opera House, and received a knighthood for his services to both business and the arts in 2005.

LBS recognised his business acumen and willingness to share his good fortune with others with an Honorary Fellowship in 2009.

The following year, his generous donation of £2.5 million allowed for the creation of the School’s Sir Donald Gordon Chair of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, a position held by Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship Michael G Jacobides.

“Sir Donald was an inquisitive mind and passionate about causes that were dear to his heart,” Professor Jacobides said.

“He not only endowed the Chair I am privileged to hold, but also created a business school in South Africa - the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science. Likewise, he supported the Royal Opera and the Welsh National Opera alike with transformative gifts. Perhaps more important yet, he was keen that other people of privilege would use their fortunes wisely, giving back to society and helping support causes they believed in.

“In a world where income inequality keeps rising, and where the top 0.1% impact on economies has grown to unprecedented heights, this is an important message to be remembered for.”

Photo credit: Arnold Pronto