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John Todd, patriarch of top New Zealand family business, dies, aged 88

By Jessica Tasman-Jones

Third-generation New Zealand businessman John Todd has been farewelled in Wellington this week.

The former chairman of Todd Corporation died last Wednesday, aged 88, following a short illness.

Todd Corporation, New Zealand's largest family business, dates back to 1884 and has interests in energy, property development, healthcare, telecommuncations, technology and wine.

According to local business publication The NBR, the family is worth NZ$3.16 billion.

Todd joined the family business in 1945, where he worked on the assembly line at Todd Motors in Wellington. He was appointed managing director of that company in 1968, deputy chairman of the Todd Corporation board of directors in 1978.

In 1987 he became chairman of the family empire, a position he held until his retirement in 2011.

Todd also played a role in the family's philanthropic activities, joining the administrative board in 1972, when the Todd Foundation was established, and becoming chairman in 1988.

His eldest son, Michael Todd, is the only member of the family that plays an active role on Todd Corporation's board, and, in a statement, described his father as “a man of enterprise and grace”.

“Our family salutes him for the work he did in the service of our wonderful family enterprise,” Michael said.

Since its inception, the Todd Foundation has contributed more than NZ$52 million to philanthropic causes with a youth and community focus.