Peter Bush’s long and successful career in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) started when he was employed by Johnson & Johnson out of university. Since then, he has held senior roles with many leading companies including, S. C. Johnson, Foote Cone Belding, Reckitt & Coleman, Ampol/Caltex and Arnotts and was CEO of AGB/McNair, Schwarzkopf Australasia, and McDonald’s. He also set up his own successful consulting business attracting an impressive list of blue chip clients.
Much of Peter’s later career has been spent in volatile turnaround environments where he developed a talent for orchestrating successful change programmes. Of note, he developed a new retail strategy for the Ampol–Caltex merger (at the time Australia’s biggest ever merger); he re-structured and helped reinvigorate the ailing Arnotts brands; and was the architect of the turnaround of the McDonald’s business in Australia and New Zealand.
Peter was one of the executives tasked with handling the fallout from the 1997 “Arnott’s extortion” in which a Queensland extortioner threatened to poison Arnott’s biscuits in Queensland and Victoria. Instead of caving to demands, the company chose to conduct a massive recall and publicity campaign, publishing the extortionist’s threats in full page advertisements. Peter was awarded a mention as one of the ‘Ten Top Executives of the Year’ by Business Review Weekly for his role in the management of the event.
During the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, Peter managed the unfolding crisis on the ground and was chairman of the official inquiry into the event (Australia’s biggest ever maritime disaster). He produced a 200 page report that revolutionised ocean racing safety procedures around the world.
He set up his own consulting business. Apart from McDonald’s, clients included Optus, Qantas, Sanitarium, Telstra, George Patterson Bates and John Singleton Advertising, Integral Energy and Herron Pharmaceuticals, along with many others. The consulting business specialised in providing strategy advice, developing new strategies and aligning the company and culture to strategy, structure and capability. Additionally, Peter independently did a considerable amount of work in crisis management due to his experience at Arnotts and the Sydney Hobart Race.
Peter has held several independent non-executive directorships including Wines Pty Ltd, the Institute for Psycho-Social Research, McDonald’s Australia Limited, Speeedfins, Frucor (one of the world’s top ten small companies in 2001 according to Forbes magazine) and Lion Nathan Limited.
He became involved with McDonald’s though his consulting company in mid-2001 and was the architect of the turnaround of the Australian business. He ultimately led McDonald’s Australia to be the best performing McDonald’s business in the world for five consecutive years. Many of the strategies he developed have now been deployed throughout the world.
Peter retired from McDonald’s and his role of Divisional President for Pacific Middle East and Africa in April 2010 to (he says) slow down a little.
Peter’s reputation in the market is someone who thinks outside the square, gets results and is an inspirational leader. He is passionate about his work, doesn’t tolerate fools and hates to lose.
Since 2012, Peter has been Chairman of Pacific Brands. He's also a director at the Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG) and a former director of Lion Nathan.
Peter is a keen sailor and a veteran of 18 Sydney-Hobart yacht races. He’s also a fanatical Wallaby fan and rides a bike to keep fit.