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Sir John Peter Lloyd (1915–1996)

by Ted Best

This article was published online in 2021

Sir John Peter Daniel Lloyd (1915–1996), army officer and businessman, was born on 30 August 1915 at Liverpool, England, eldest of five children of Welsh parents David John Lloyd, schoolmaster, and his wife Olwen, née Beynon. Peter attended Rossall School and then Brasenose College, Oxford (BA, 1941; MA, 1958), where he held a Hulme exhibition in mathematics and studied philosophy, politics, and economics. After graduation he took up a management cadet position with Cadbury Bros Ltd at their offices at Bournville, Birmingham.

World War II having broken out in 1939, on 26 September 1940 Lloyd enlisted in the Territorial Army and was allocated to the Royal Army Service Corps. In August 1941 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Artillery. He was posted to the 77th Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry Medium Regiment, served in north-west Europe in the last years of World War II, and was mentioned in dispatches. For his ‘complete disregard of danger when under fire,’ especially in the Normandy campaign (June-August 1944), and his ‘tireless energy and high sense of duty … during the advance through Belgium’ (NA WO 373/111/871), he was appointed to that country’s Order of Leopold II and awarded its Croix de Guerre. Following the cessation of hostilities, he was a magistrate attached to a military government court. He had risen to the rank of temporary major at the time of his demobilisation in August 1946. On 2 May the next year at the register office, Westminster, London, he married Gwendolen Clara Nassau Molesworth, who had been a plotter in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.

Having returned to Cadbury, Lloyd progressed quickly through the ranks of management. In 1949 he was appointed a director of the firm’s Australian subsidiary, Cadbury-Fry-Pascall Pty Ltd and relocated to their headquarters at Claremont, Tasmania. Four years later, on the retirement of Victor Smith, he became chairman and managing director, a role he would hold for eighteen years. He presided over a period of great success and expansion. From the mid-1950s he took a personal interest in cocoa plantations in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, undertaking several journeys to examine processing methods with a view to improving the quality of the crop. While he was particularly attentive to the company’s financial performance, his strong personality and understanding of operational matters made him an effective force for the development of all aspects of the business.

By the mid-1960s Cadbury was outperforming its long-time rival in the local confectionery market, Mac.Robertson (Australia) Ltd. In 1967 Mac.Robertson became the target of a takeover battle between Cadbury and Mars Inc. Lloyd coordinated Cadbury’s successful bid with his British colleagues. He then oversaw the takeover of Mac.Robertson, including the relocation of several Cadbury directors and senior executives to Victoria to administer the integration. In 1969 the parent company in Britain and the soft drink manufacturer Schweppes Ltd merged to become Cadbury Schweppes Ltd. He retired in 1971 following the Australian merger of those companies. Recalled as a ‘man of correctness and integrity’ (Mather 1996, 10), he was knighted that year for distinguished services to finance, commerce, and government.

Both Lloyd and his wife, Gwen, were prominent in the Tasmanian community. Among the many organisations she served was as director of the Asthma Foundation of Tasmania (1965–86), president of the Hobart District Nursing Service (1966–76), and State commissioner of Girl Guides’ Association, Tasmania (1968–73). By 1953 he was a member of the Hobart Chamber of Commerce and Hobart Legacy, and was vice-president of the Boy Scouts’ Association of Tasmania. In 1957 he joined the council of the University of Tasmania. He chaired the university’s finance committee for many years and was chancellor from 1982 to 1985. He also served on the board of the Australian Administrative Staff College (1959–72) and the interim council of the University of Papua and New Guinea (1965–69). From 1976 to 1979 he was a member of the Commonwealth inquiry into education and training. The University of Tasmania awarded him an honorary doctorate of laws in 1986.

Lloyd held several other corporate appointments. Chairman of the Australian Mutual Provident Society’s Tasmanian branch (1970–86) and a member of its principal board (1970–88), he was also a director of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation (1967–82), Goliath Cement Holdings Ltd (1969–88), and Concrete Industries (later Monier) Ltd (1972–87). He was a member of the committee of inquiry into the Australian taxation system (1972–75) and chaired the inquiry into the Tasmanian Parliamentary Superannuation Scheme (1984-85).

In 1985 Sir Peter and Lady Lloyd moved to Gisborne and then Macedon in Victoria, to be closer to their children. Locally he was prominent in fund-raising for the restoration of the Mount Macedon Memorial Cross. Survived by his wife, two sons, and three of their four daughters, he died on 1 September 1996 at Kyneton and was buried in Macedon cemetery. The University of Tasmania was bequeathed his collection of early maps.

Research edited by Nicole McLennan

Select Bibliography

  • Alexander, Alison. University Leaders. [Sandy Bay, Tas.]: University of Tasmania, 2006
  • Cadbury Archive. Mondelēz International, Claremont, Tasmania
  • Kent, Judith. Personal communication
  • Mather, Bob. ‘Long Service to Community.’ Mercury (Hobart), 9 September 1996, 10
  • Mercury (Hobart). ‘New Chairman for Cadbury’s.’ 5 December 1953, 5
  • Mercury (Hobart). ‘New Chancellor Named.’ 9 September 1981, 2
  • National Archives (UK). WO 373/111/871, Recommendation for Award for Lloyd, John Peter Daniel
  • Personal knowledge of ADB subject

Additional Resources

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Ted Best, 'Lloyd, Sir John Peter (1915–1996)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published online 2021, accessed online 16 July 2024.

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