A South African captain of industry has passed: Liberty Holdings's founder Sir Donald Gordon. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG - Tributes  continued to pour in for another South African captain of industry, Sir Donald Gordon who passed was on Thursday.

Liberty Life founder Sir Donald Gordon (89), has been heralded for his immense contribution to arts and business.

Liberty Holdings board described Gordon as a visionary leader, entrepreneur and philanthropist who had made an immense contribution to the industry and country. 

"We are saddened by the passing of Sir Donald Gordon on 21 November 2019,” the board said. “We extend our condolences to his family and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time."

Gordon was born born on June, 24, 1930 and held both UK and South African citizenship.

He was educated at King Edward VII School in Johannesburg before doing his articles to be a Chartered Accountant at the firm, Kessel Feinstein

In 1957 he Liberty Life in 1957 which transformed into the Transatlantic Insurance Holdings plc, now known as London- listed Liberty International, in 1980.

He was also behind the development of Sandton City.

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

Photographs are shown of the late Sir Donald Gordon from the Independent Media archives.


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

In 2000 he pumped in a substantial amount of money that led to the establishment of the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in Johannesburg.

Amongst other awards, at 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. 

He work extended beyond the industry to health and business institutions.

“He led the way in creating financial institutions from nothing,” Liberty said. “He demonstrated what you can create with true entrepreneurship and hard work. Donald financed education and health on an enormous scale and leaves behind a foundation that will carry on the philanthropic work. His legacy will span generations to come.”

Johann Rupert, paid tribute to Gordon “One of South Africa’s greatest sons and a great friend passed away last night. Rest in peace Donald Gordon.”

He became knighted in 2005 after he gave the Royal Opera House and Wales Millennium Centre a collective donation of £20 million - believed to be one of the largest single private donation ever made to the arts in the UK

Billionaire Johann Rupert described Gordon as one of the doyens of South African business.

“One of South Africa’s greatest sons and a great friend passed away last night. Rest in peace Donald Gordon,” Rupert said

BUSINESS REPORT