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Gordon Brunton

Sir Gordon Charles Brunton KBE (born 27 December 1921 in London) is an English businessman, publisher and racehorse owner/breeder.


Early life

Educated at Cranleigh School, Surrey and studied under Harold Laski at the London School of Economics. During World War II commissioned in 1942 and served in the Indian Army and Royal Artillery regiments in Burma and served in the Military Government in Germany.

Thomson Organisation and Times Newspapers

Recruited by Canadian Roy Thomson founder of the International Thomson Organisation PLC now Thomson Reuters in 1961. Appointed Managing Director Thomson Publications 1961, Director Thomson Organisation 1963, Chairman Thomson Travel 1965-68, Director Times Newspapers Ltd. 1967-81, Served as Managing Director/ Chief Executive from 1966-1984 during the period of international expansion and diversification in print, book and magazine publishing, local directories Thomson Local and Yellow Pages travel businesses Thomson Holidays now TUI AG and establishing the charter air carrier Britannia Airways. North Sea oil ventures with the late Dr Armand Hammer company Occidental Petroleum and Getty Oil J. Paul Getty in a consortium concerning the Piper Alpha and Claymore fields.

Performed a key role in the print union conflict of The Times and Sunday Times in the late 1970s. Eventually this led to the sale of both titles to Australian magnate Rupert Murdoch and 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, who provided assurances both titles would remain in single ownership and in circulation. Brunton and management took a particularly hard stance against militant elements of the British Print Unions during the late 1970s, which resulted in the closure of the loss making Times Newspapers for extended periods of time.

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 hard negotiator resulted in undertaking a role at troubled auction house Sotheby's as Chairman. During this period Brunton made enforced cuts and personnel changes to bring stability to a business which had 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 American property magnate Alfred Taubman.

Other business

Subsequently Chairman posts held at Sotheby's, Mercury Communications later Cable and Wireless Communications PLC, Racing Post, Bemrose PLC, NXT PLC and others.

Horse racing

A well known racehorse owner and breeder, most notably Indian Queen winner of the 1991 Ascot Gold Cup.


Awarded: KBE 1985

Club: Garrick Club

Fellow: London School of Economics

Recreations: Books, breeding horses

Married: Twice


  • 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‚Äôs: 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)


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