Earlier this week, the world lost an incredible individual, one of my most important mentors and a great friend.
I met Peter in 1993 during the recession, as a second year lawyer with the temerity to write to CSL Limited (among others) seeking a job as a lawyer in a pharmaceutical company. He was the company’s only in-house lawyer, busy with the upcoming float and with enough work to need a junior assistant. But he was reluctant to create a new position, if there was a risk that he may have to “let me go” should there be insufficient work after the float. I was impatient and frustrated by what I later came to see as my first experience of his immense integrity. After checking in several times over the following twelve months, he eventually succumbed and hired me shortly after the float.
He was the person most singularly responsible for my career.
He was also a tremendous boss.
But he was more than that – a mentor, a great supporter and a very dear friend. He was always available to bounce an idea off or to stress test a proposed approach to a current legal problem. More recently we slipped into a beautiful pattern of regular lunches where we would talk for hours over good food and wine about interesting issues we were dealing with in our professional roles or opportunities either of us were considering, or simply family, Carlton FC or golf. It is hard to accept that we won’t do that again.
He had tremendous integrity, loyalty and a strong work ethic, was devoted to his family and loved his garden. He also had a boundless passion for commercialising life sciences technology. But due to his preferred low profile style, few will be fully aware of the importance of his contributions to CSL, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Viralytics, ImmVirx, Cell Therapies, Agriculture Victoria, Starpharma and Admedus as well as Foursight Associates and AusBiotech.
Peter will be sorely missed. But all he knew him will be forever grateful for the richness that he brought to our lives.
Deepest condolences to Pascale, Katrina and Christopher.