Donald was born into a crofting family on Harris, in the Western Isles. Initially he planned to become an accountant but decided on hospitality after a summer job at Turnberry and joined BritishTransport Hotels as an apprentice instead. He made his name as managing director of the Stakis Hotels group but left in 1989. He established Macdonald Hotels the following year in 1990, which has expanded to become one of the UK’s largest privately-owned hotel groups. It was floated on the stock market in 1996 but in 2003 Donald led a management buyout in a £620 million deal, giving the Group gross borrowings of around £700 million, which took the group into private ownership.They then focused on developing a portfolio of four and five-star hotels offering high-quality, expertly-sourced food and drink. Donald took over as Chief Executive in 2014, before stepping back from the role two years later to become Executive Chairman, while his son Ruaridh is Deputy Chief Executive.Today the Macdonald group operates more than 45 hotels and resorts in over 50 destinations in the UK, Ireland, Spain and Portugal, ranging from contemporary hotels in city centres to beautiful country manor houses, including Macdonald Aviemore Resort and Macdonald Rusacks Hotel in St Andrews.They have more than 3,900 hotel rooms and employ more than 3,600 staff.Turnover in 2015/16 was £163.4 million.