Rear Admiral David Ian Ledson, ONZM, is a retired senior officer of the Royal New Zealand Navy and former Chief of Navy (2004–09). He is the Chairman of the Board of Maritime New Zealand and was named a Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2009.
He served in HMNZS Waikato between July 1973 and October 1975, followed by almost two years in HMNZS Otago. He then attended warfare courses in the United Kingdom, specialising in navigation. After the course, he returned to HMNZS Waikato as the Weapons Control Officer.
In March 1980 he became the Personal Staff Officer to the Chief of Naval Staff before returning to HMNZS Waikato as the Operations Officer in April 1982. Between January and June 1984 he attended the Royal Australian Naval Staff College in Sydney. In October 1985 he joined the staff of the Chief of Naval Staff as the Director of Naval Operational Data Systems until October 1989 when he became Commanding Officer of HMNZS Waikato. In November 1990 he was attached to Blohm & Voss, in Hamburg for eighteen months for duties with the ANZAC Ship project.
In July 1992 he was appointed as Chief of Naval Development on the staff of the Chief of Naval Staff. Between July 1994 and June 1995 he was posted to the United States Naval War College. After the War College, he was appointed Director of Resource Policy for the Chief of Defence Force.
In February 1998 he was posted as Captain Fleet Support and was promoted to Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, with the rank of commodore, in April 2000. He became Chief of Navy and was promoted rear-admiral on 8 April 2004.
In the 2000 Queen's Birthday Honours, Ledson was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.