Peter Osborne is a highly credential leader with a unique combination of executive level commercial and government diplomatic experience in Asia, particularly China.
Peter serves as Chairman Asia Pacific for US probiotic company Seed Health Inc., is an External Advisor for Bain & Company, has roles as Strategic Advisor for several Australian listed and private companies in the healthcare, skincare and food space. Peter sits on the Advisory Board of the Australia-China Research Institute and is a Director of the Dorji Lingpa Foundation in Bhutan.
From 2009 to February 2020 Peter was Managing Director Asia for Blackmores Limited, Australia’s leading ASX listed natural healthcare company. Peter was responsible for growing Blackmores’ Asia business to over A$ 300 million, and employing 1,000 staff in subsidiary companies in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea and China, joint venture in Indonesia, distribution partnerships in Japan, Vietnam, Kazakhstan and Pakistan and overall strategy for Blackmores’ growth objectives in Asia.
Prior to working for Blackmores, Peter was Australia’s most senior trade diplomat in China as the Minister (Commercial) in the Australian Embassy Beijing. Peter also previously held Australia’s Senior Trade Commissioner positions in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei, was the Trade & Investment Director of the South Pacific Forum Secretariat in Fiji and also served as the South Pacific Expert Adviser on trade development to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the UN Commission for Sustainable Development.
In June 2017 Peter was appointed as Vice Chairman of the China Association for Quality Inspection (CAQI) Advisory Committee – the first and only foreign citizen to hold a CAQI committee position. CAQI is a high-level non-profit Chinese organisation with responsibility for product quality inspection under the supervision of China’s State Administration for Market Regulation.
Peter currently lives in Taipei.
What was the highlight of your experience living in Queensland?
I really enjoyed the casualness of Queensland combined with a strong culture of being able to achieve things and being in a state, that at that time in particular, was extremely dynamic with a rapidly growing economy and it really felt like we could achieve anything as we advanced through our studies. Also, the friendships built at university have endured for decades.
How has your experience in Queensland helped you with your career?
I have had a very fascinating career progressing to be a very senior Australian diplomat based in Asia and then following that with a highly successful career being based in Asia running a very large Asian business for an Australian publicly listed company. One of the really lasting things I took from my study and time in Queensland was the unique combination of casualness and professionalism which I believe assisted by enormously over my career.
Can you share your student journey (why did you decide to study what you studied and why did you decide to study in Queensland)?
I grew up in Northern NSW (Grafton) and had a strong interest in the environment and natural resource management. Griffith University offered at that time one of the only high quality and innovative degrees in environmental studies which was the reason I chose the course and also Brisbane was not too far from my parents and family in Northern NSW.
What's the easiest way to develop a social life in Queensland?
I always think people of like interest come together and form the fabric of your social life. I’m a surfer and quickly built a circle of friendships around surfing as well as within the environmental issue groups within the university.
Why did you decide to work for the previously mentioned companies and roles?
See my career journey above, most of this wasn’t planned but took place by either my own chasing of specific opportunities or being approach for roles as my career developed. Being open to new opportunities and possibilities is critical to career success.
Can you share any ongoing ties to Queensland?
I have several family members living in Queensland including brothers and also my daughter. I am an advisor to a Queensland company in the healthcare category and also remain in contact with Griffith University, including delivering keynote address to Hong Kong graduates of Griffith (whenever COVID restrictions lift enabling me to undertake that commitment).
What career-advice would you give to give future students thinking about studying in Queensland?
My advice to future students is key in several areas:
- Follow your passion and the things that interest and stimulate you, don’t live anyone else's life, live your own and follow your own path.
- Tenacity, resilience and perseverance against whatever challenges you face and the ability to never give up are what separates life and career success above all else.
- In your career journey be kind, be compassionate and care for those you work with, work for and help in your career.
- Remember that your career journey can, and will, take many twists are turns – I am a great example of that – when I graduated from a degree in environmental science I never ever would have even vaguely imagined I would go on to be Australia’s most senior trade diplomat in the Australian embassy in China; then spend the next 10 years running an A$ 300 million business with 1,000 staff across 14 market in Asia. As the saying goes “Life is best enjoyed without a map”.