Founder, FIJI Water/The Wakaya Club and Spa – Palm Beach, FL
Canadian-born David Gilmour has enjoyed phenomenal success throughout his entrepreneurial career. In 1969, he and longtime partner Peter Munk founded the South Pacific Hotel Corporation (SPHC) which quickly became the largest hotel chain in the region. A decade later, the conglomerate was sold and the partners formed Barrick Gold Corporation, now the most profitable and largest gold-mining firm in the world. The entrepreneurial pair followed this venture by forming a real-estate company called Horsham Corporation, which was to become TrizecHahn, and today is one of the largest publicly traded real estate investment trust companies in North America.
Gilmour is also the founder of FIJI Water LLC, which in 2004 he’d led to become the fastest-growing premium beverage company in the United States and a main contributor to philanthropic endeavors on the island of Fiji. The feat earned the conglomerate and Gilmour, an officer in “The Governor General’s Horseguards” of Canada, the United States Senate Department’s 2004 Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) which was presented by Secretary of State Colin Powell.
It was in 1971 that Gilmour first developed his love for the island of Fiji. While on a trip to review SPHC operations, he discovered the 2,200-acre island of Wakaya, and was so taken with its lush, unspoiled natural beauty, that he purchased it in 1972. In 1990, he and his wife Jill formally shared their paradise with the world as they unveiled The Wakaya Club, their exclusive resort. Designed and decorated by Jill, The Wakaya Club is a four-time winner of “Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report” Grand Hideaway Award. It was for these and other philanthropic Fiji efforts that Gilmour was presented the 1998 “Order of Fiji” from president Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.
Never one to rest on his tropical laurels, Gilmour founded VIV Publishing LLC, in 2007, a media company that introduced an entirely new concept in women’s magazines: a health and lifestyle publication called VIVmag distributed exclusively in digital form. He then expanded his thrust into the world of publishing the same year by acquiring Zinio, the leading digital publishing, retail and distribution platform for magazines and books. Zinio pioneered paperless distribution, and has introduced responsible and innovative digital-marketing practices to the print industry for a variety of distinguished publishers. Since Gilmour’s acquisition, Zinio has introduced a series of ground-breaking new technologies for the global marketplace, rolled out operations across Europe and Latin America, and doubled both its publisher client and consumer bases.
The Gilmour’s split their time between their residence on Wakaya Island and their house on the island of Palm Beach, Florida. With a charitable focus on preschool education, they have donated a pre-school program in several areas of Fiji and now in the United States.
*All biographical information is only current up to the date of the award.