He replaces Charles McGhee, whom he also succeeded at the Evening Times in 2006 when he moved over to edit The Herald.
Newsquest said the appointment reflected “the changing nature of the media industry where complementary digital and print output and economic pressures require the competitive strength that comes from teamwork across titles.”
Although the appointment was widely expected, Newsquest Herald and Times Group managing director Tim Blott described the choice of candidate as “an extremely difficult decision.”
Glasgow University graduate Donald, 44, said: “I am fully committed to ensuring that The Herald, Evening Times and the Sunday Herald along with our digital products are strong, vibrant Scottish brands which reflect and appeal to the communities that we serve.”
His first editorship, at 24, was at the free weekly Edinburgh and Lothians Post and also worked at the Cambridge Evening News as deputy editor and the Reading Evening Post as chief sub and production editor.
Donald takes charge of the Herald at a time of industrial unrest with the National Union of Journalists raising concerns over staffing levels and stress.
Union members at the Herald and Times Group have today begun a work-to-rule which includes editorial staff taking all entitled breaks, regular screen breaks and not working over their contracted hours.