Denford McDonald

Denford Coll McDonald OBE (9 April 1929 – 1 February 2020) was a New Zealand mechanical engineer and businessman most closely associated with the motor vehicle industry. He served as chief executive officer and then chair of Mitsubishi New Zealand.

Denford McDonald

Denford Coll McDonald

(1929-04-09)9 April 1929
Tapanui, New Zealand
Died1 February 2020(2020-02-01) (aged 90)
Wellington, New Zealand


Born in the small Otago town of Tapanui on 9 April 1929, McDonald was the son of Ada McDonald (née Denford) and James Charles Alexander McDonald.[1][2][3] He was educated at Southland Boys' High School, before studying mechanical engineering at Canterbury University College, and graduating Bachelor of Engineering in 1952.[1][4]

McDonald joined Todd Motors as a graduate trainee engineer in 1952, and rose to become general manager in 1984.[2][5] In 1987, Todd Motors was sold to Mitsubishi Motors, and McDonald became the chief executive officer of Mitsubishi New Zealand. In 1995, he was appointed as chairman of Mitsubishi New Zealand.[5][6]

Other corporative and governance roles undertaken by McDonald include serving on the boards of the New Zealand Standards Council, Energy Direct and Television New Zealand, and as deputy chairman of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.[6] He also served as chair of the Wellington Institute of Technology council, and the student hub at that institution, opened in 2009, was named in McDonald's honour.[7]

In the 1989 Queen's Birthday Honours, McDonald was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, for services to the motor vehicle industry.[8] He was also a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management.[3]

McDonald died at this home in Wellington on 1 February 2020.[3]


  1. ^ a b Lambert, Max, ed. (1991). Who's Who in New Zealand (12th ed.). Auckland: Reed. p. 382. ISBN 0-7900-0130-6.
  2. ^ a b "Interview with Denford McDonald". National Library of New Zealand. 20 August 1990. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "In memory of Denford Coll McDonald". Tributes Online. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  4. ^ "NZ university graduates 1870–1961: Mc". Shadows of Time. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  5. ^ a b "McDonald on top". The Dominion. 30 August 1995. p. 11.
  6. ^ a b Love, Phil (30 September 1995). "Never stop learning – McDonald". Evening Post. p. 19.
  7. ^ "Students' social, information needs met at The Hub". Dominion Post. 31 January 2009. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  8. ^ "No. 51774". The London Gazette (3rd supplement). 17 June 1989. p. 32.