Glenn Cooper AM

Glenn Cooper AM

ALUMNI AWARDS RECIPIENT

Chairman, Coopers Brewery Limited
Associate Diploma in Business (Marketing)

Glenn Cooper helps lead one of the most iconic and successful businesses in South Australia, yet that is only one of the ways he has made his mark on this State.

He has somehow also found time to serve as Chair of the Adelaide Convention and Tourism Authority and the Adelaide Fringe Committee, and as a Board Member of the Adelaide Festival Centre Foundation. More recently he has taken on a similar role with the national Australian Made Australian Grown campaign.

A fifth-generation member of a famous brewing family, Glenn retired from his executive position at Coopers Brewery in 2014 but continues a very public role as its Chairman and Ambassador, as well as looking after exports to the US and Asia.

Like many business leaders, his story has a few twists and turns. And like many leaders of family businesses, that is not where the story started. Mind you, that is not uncommon at Coopers.

Glenn started his working life as an automotive electrician before moving into computing. He joined the firm Anderson Digital Equipment and after two years moved to Victoria as its National Distribution Manager.

Returning to Adelaide in 1983, he decided to set up his own business in computer sales and contract services and, as with most things he turns his hand to, this went well. The company grew and prospered to the extent that it opened an office in Brisbane.

Success did not build complacency, however, and in 1985 Glenn enrolled in an Associate Diploma in Business at the then South Australian Institute of Technology. “I decided to pursue a degree because I felt in those years I needed to upscale,” he said. “I needed to learn more about business and that was a logical place.”

Of course, the lure of the family business was always there, in no small part because Glenn considers his father, Ken, and uncle, Maxwell, as major influences in his life. He joined in July 1990 and immediately made his presence felt.

He played a key role in the company’s successful expansion into national and international markets and oversaw the launch of numerous new beers, including Dark Ale, Extra Strong Vintage Ale, Mild Ale, Premium Lager and Coopers Clear.

Glenn is particularly proud of the Coopers Foundation, which to date has given more than $4 million to charitable organisations involved in medical research and health care, youth education, aged care and family and community support. “That is our way of giving back to the community,” he said. “We’ve been successful and the community has supported us.”

That attitude has inspired most of Glenn’s activities outside the business. He is a proud South Australian and is “passionate about people supporting our farmers and our manufacturers.” In particular, he is a firm believer in the quality, diversity and potential of South Australian food.

And then there are the arts – an enduring interest despite the fact that “my wife says I don’t have an artistic bone in my body.” He is more than happy to support others, and says there is nothing more exciting than seeing 25,000 people in Adelaide’s East End celebrating the opening of the annual Fringe Festival.

Glenn’s contribution to the community was formally acknowledged when he received a Centenary Medal in 2002 and in 2005 when he was awarded a Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia for services to South Australia and the Arts.

And there’s one more family connection to mention. In 2007 Glenn completed the Kokoda Track, following in the footsteps of his uncle, Colonel Geoff Cooper.