It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the death of Allan William Buchanan Gray on 10 November 2019, of natural causes. Our first thoughts are with his family, and with them, as colleagues and friends, we are mourning the passing of a man who made an immeasurable impact on many lives as an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist.
He has earned his rest.
Allan leaves behind a lasting legacy. He founded Allan Gray and Orbis with the singular purpose of creating long-term wealth for clients and the firms continue to be guided by Allan’s strong values and his philosophy and approach to investing. He saw philanthropy as a natural extension of the impact that the investment business aims to make in people’s lives, spending considerable focus and energy later in his career on philanthropic endeavours. His last years were spent setting up the Allan & Gill Gray Foundation, having donated his family’s controlling stake in the Orbis and Allan Gray groups to the Foundation.
Allan was born in East London in 1938. After completing high school at Selborne College, he studied at Rhodes University. He qualified as a chartered accountant and went on to earn an MBA at Harvard Business School in 1965. He then worked at Fidelity Management and Research in Boston, before returning to South Africa in 1973 to found what would become Allan Gray. He set up Orbis in 1989 to focus on global investing. A meticulous planner, he spent a number of years gradually handing over his responsibilities to others, confident that the firms were in excellent hands. He handed over leadership of Orbis to William Gray in 2000, resigned from the Allan Gray board in 2010 and stepped away from his remaining investment responsibilities at Orbis in 2012, before retiring officially from Orbis in 2016.
Allan leaves behind his wife Gill, their three children Trevor, Jennifer and William and six grandchildren.