August Busch IV

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This article is about the 5th generation brewing magnate. For other persons, see August Busch (disambiguation).
August Busch IV
Born August Adolphus Busch IV
(1964-06-15) June 15, 1964 (age 50)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Occupation Board Member of Anheuser-Busch InBev, Former President and CEO, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
Spouse(s) Kathryn "Kate" Thatcher (2006-2009) divorced
Parent(s) August Busch III and Susan (Hornibrook) Busch

August Adolphus Busch IV (born June 15, 1964) is the former CEO of Anheuser-Busch who ended the family control of the company in 2008 when it was sold to InBev.

Early life[edit]

He is a great-great-grandson of Anheuser-Busch founder Adolphus Busch, and a great-great-great-grandson of Eberhard Anheuser who originally purchased the brewery in 1860. He is the son of Susan (Hornibrook) and former chairman, president and CEO August Busch III. Busch is known by industry insiders as "The Fourth."

Busch's parents divorced when he was five and he lived with his mother. His time with his father was mostly at the brewery and their relationship was, for the most part, professional.[1]

After graduating in 1982 from Parkway West High School in Ballwin, Missouri, August Busch IV studied as an undergraduate at the University of Arizona. He left the University before he could get a degree. He holds both an MBA and a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in finance from Saint Louis University. He has a "Brewing On The Spot" certificate from VLB Berlin.


Early years[edit]

After graduation he followed the family tradition of starting at the bottom of Anheuser-Busch. He worked as a brewing apprentice in the Old Malt House as a union member of Brewers & Maltsters Local 6 in St. Louis, Missouri, as an intern in the Culture Yeast Center, and later as a foreman in packaging and shipping operations.[2]

In 1989 he moved into marketing, working on the start of the Bud Dry brand launch. Although the launch was considered a success, the product ultimately proved to be unsuccessful. He then worked on updating the image of the company's flagship brand, Budweiser, which had been losing market share, launching among other things the Budweiser frogs campaign.

Busch's father initially opposed the campaign; he later admitted "I've lost the ability to understand the 21- to 30-year-olds the way I used to."[2]

He was Group Vice President-Marketing and Wholesale Operations (2000–2002). He was Vice President and Group Executive of the Company and had served in such capacity since 2000.

Chairman and InBev takeover[edit]

In 2002 Busch (and other family members) were passed over when the company named Patrick Stokes its first non-family President and CEO.[3] Busch's father had said that he only owns 1% of the stock and that the "Board of Directors calls the shots" at the company.[4]

Busch IV became president and CEO effective December 1, 2006. Busch's father had been criticized for not moving to expand and thus leaving the company open for acquisition. In 2007 August and the directors began discussions to acquire Diageo but the deal never advanced.[5]

Less than 18 months into his tenure rumors circulated that InBev was attempting to buy the company. In April 2008, Mr. Busch told beer distributors that Anheuser-Busch would never be bought "on my watch." Anheuser's stock had closed at $49.20 on April 30, 2008.[6] InBev offered $65/share in June and August Busch IV refused. Prior to InBev's offer Anheuser's stock had never been higher than 51.97. To make it more difficult to avoid the takeover August proposed acquiring the remaining 50 percent share it did not own of Grupo Modelo.[5] InBev then said it would not include August in the new company board and instead would include his uncle Adolphus Busch IV who had favored the deal.[7] Eventually InBev sweetened its bid to $70/share and kept August on the board.[8]

On July 13th, 2008, he signed off on the sale of Anheuser to InBev, ending 156 years of family control.[9] The deal officially closed on November 18, 2008 just as the Late-2000s recession was beginning.

Press reports indicated that the Busch family ownership of the company had greatly dwindled over the years, with Busch's father owning only 1.2 percent of the shares at the time of the takeover. In total the Busch family owned only 4 percent of the company[10] and were not even the company's biggest stockholders. Barclay's owned 6 percent and Berkshire Hathaway owned 5 percent.[11] The family did not own supervoting stock as do many publicly traded companies with family affiliations, and the board did not employ the common takeover defense tactic of staggering its board of directors terms (the AB board was re-elected each year).

According to reports, he and his father August Busch III were estranged and his father engineered the AB takeover blindsiding the son. However the public conflict between father and son led to the higher price.[5] AB gave August IV a title of nonexecutive director and a contract as a consultant that ran until December 2013.[citation needed] He was also given a security detail through 2011.[12]

The deal was worth $100 million to Busch.[13] He also received a seat on InBev's board for a three-year term, $10.35 million in advance, and the promise of $120,000 a month in consultancy fees, as well as a personal security team.[14]


August A. Busch IV holds advanced black belt degrees in the martial arts disciplines of Judo, Tae-Kwon-Do and Hapkido. Busch, reported as a lean 5-foot-10-inch man in 2005, was described as having a striking resemblance to his father.[10]

Busch married Kathryn "Kate" Thatcher, sixteen years his junior, in August 2006 in Bradford, Vermont[15] shortly before becoming CEO. He filed for divorce on November 26th 2008; the same month the InBev take over was completed. Thanks to a prenuptial agreement, the divorce moved quickly through the courts and was made official at the end of January 2009.[15][16][17] The couple had no children. The same month the InBev takeover was completed he resigned as a director of FedEx Corp, a position he had held since 2003.[17]

Run-ins with the law[edit]

Accident resulting in death of Michele Frederick (1983)[edit]

While attending the University of Arizona, Busch was in an auto accident that resulted in the death of his passenger, 21-year-old Michele Frederick, a local waitress.[18] According to witnesses, Busch had left a bar early one morning with Frederick.[19] The vehicle wrecked at a 25 mph curve known for accidents.[19] The car went airborne, flipped, and Frederick flew through the sunroof and was probably killed instantly when the car rolled over her.[19] Busch left the car at the scene of the accident without informing anyone.[19] When police arrived on the scene hours later they found empty Bud Light cans scattered in and around the car, along with August Busch IV's drivers license.[19] Police found Busch at his Tucson townhouse 4 miles (6 km) away, with blood on his body, a sawed-off shotgun, and in a dazed condition exhibiting signs of amnesia.[19] After a lengthy investigation by Tucson police, Busch wasn't charged with any wrongdoing, due to lack of evidence.[19][20] As a normal procedure, blood and urine samples were taken from Busch when he was taken into custody hours after the accident.[19] The samples would have confirmed whether he had been drinking and how much at the time of the accident.[19] However, the hospital "lost" the urine sample, and the blood sample had been run through a centrifuge, rendering it useless.[19] No one in the hospital staff was able to explain what happened to the samples.[19] Police investigator Ron Benson said that in all his career he had never before seen samples mishandled by hospital staff.[19] Unable to find any other evidence of substantial wrongdoing (other than leaving the scene of an accident), the police reported they saw no legal option but to drop the case.[19][20] Deputy Ron Benson, in charge of the investigation, said years later that "I didn't feel good about [dropping the case]. My gut told me this guy was drunk and killed this girl and I couldn't do my best for her because the [blood and urine] evidence just disappeared."[19] The Frederick family probably reached a secret settlement of an undisclosed sum with Busch attorneys, according to Busch family biographer William Knoedelseder.[19] August IV's mother, Susie Busch, said in a newspaper column that her son had not been treated justly, saying that "there is no just treatment for families with a name and money."[19]

Car chase (1985)[edit]

Busch was arrested after leading police on a car chase with speeds reaching between 85 and 90 mph on Kingshighway Boulevard as he was returning from Sauget, Illinois, strip bar PT's Sports Cabaret.[21] He was accused of intentionally trying to run over two officers with his Mercedes. The officers were in an unmarked police car and the chase ended when they shot out his rear tire. They chased him after he nearly hit a parked car. Busch claimed he thought they were attempting to kidnap him.[1] He was acquitted by a St. Louis jury.[22]

Fatal drug overdose of Adrienne Nicole Martin (2010)[edit]

Twenty-seven-year-old Adrienne Nicole Martin was found dead at his 6,300-square-foot (590 m2) home with 16 rooms set on 4 1/2 wooded acres[12] in the 2800 Block of South Lindbergh Boulevard in Huntleigh, Missouri (38°36′31″N 90°24′15″W / 38.6085650°N 90.4042660°W / 38.6085650; -90.4042660) after household employee Michael Jung[23] called 9-1-1 at 1:15 p.m. The call was reported to have been 42 minutes after a problem was discovered. Busch's attorney Art Margulis denied that anything suspicious occurred and described the death as "tragic and untimely". Busch was divorced in 2009 and was in the house at the time. The matter was investigated by Frontenac, Missouri police rather than Huntleigh although Frontenac police chief Thomas Becker maintained early on there was "no public safety concern regarding the case."[24][25][26]

The incident occurred on a Sunday and was not reported in the media until the St. Louis Post-Dispatch did so four days later on a Thursday.[27] Martin, a former Hooters waitress, was a divorced mother of one and is reported to have been dating Busch for a year.[12]

The initial autopsy was inconclusive and didn't reveal signs of trauma. Police reports said they were initially investigating the case as a drug overdose however Martin's ex-husband Kevin J. Martin, a Cape Girardeau, Missouri physician said Martin suffered from Long QT syndrome that could cause an unexpected sudden death. The physician said he had been personally called by August saying "We also both think the world of August...He is a good man." [28] The physician said that Martin had been improperly taking Trazodone.[13]

Busch in his first interview published on January 4 in the Post-Dispatch said that 911 had been called immediately and that he asked Jung to make the call because he was still with her and that "she felt kind of warm." He said that he initially thought she was just sleeping when he woke up about 11 a.m. Busch said that Adrienne had spurred him to give up his playboy ways. "You know, I'm this notorious bachelor who always wanted someone on the side, but I didn't with Adrienne."[13] They had shared their bed with five of Busch's eight dogs—five Shih Tzus.[13] Adrienne's obituary in the Springfield News-Leader described as Busch as "the love of her life."[29] Adrienne was cremated at the request of her mother five days after the St. Louis County Medical examiner released her body to her. The county's medical examiner said the cremation would not affect the investigation.[30] Her mother Christine Trampler said Busch had taken her on a helicopter ride the day before she died and had posted it that night on Facebook. She said that Adrienne told her that night, "There's a situation that caused her not to sleep." She did elaborate but said it had nothing to do with Busch.[31]

A toxicology report in February 2011 indicated she had cocaine and oxycodone and the death was in connection with the oxycodone (there was no prescription for the drug) and that the cocaine was at a lethal level. The report further said that a hole in Adrienne's nasal septum indicated "several months to a year of cocaine use."[32][33]

On March 31, 2011, Adriene's ex-husband Kevin filed a wrongful death suit against Busch on behalf of her son Blake Alexander Martin (born 2003). The case is to be handled in Cape Girardeau.[34] In the wake of the suit Adrienne's mother Christine Trampler said she was hiring New York attorney John Q. Kelly (who previously represented Beth Holloway and the estate of Nicole Brown Simpson) to pursue the case because she was concerned that a friendship between Adrienne's ex-husband and Busch would taint the case.[32]

On April 6, 2011, Adrienne's father George "Larry" Eby joined the suit saying he had been deprived of the "companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel and training of Adrienne Martin."[35]

On April 20, 2011, it was revealed that Busch had agreed to a $1.5 million settlement with Martin. The court would decide how much could be allocated to Adrienne's parents.[36]

Further reading[edit]

  • Under the Influence: The Unauthorized Story of the Anheuser-Busch Dynasty, Peter Hernon & Terry Ganey, Avon Books 1992
  • Fortune Magazine; January 13, 1997; "BUD-WEIS-HEIR August Busch IV is rebellious, risk-taking--and (nearly) ready to rule the world's largest brewer".[37]
  • Business Week; November 11, 2002
  • Forbes; March 3, 2006
  • Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer, William Knoedelseder, HarperBusiness 2012
  • Dethroning the King - The Hostile Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, An American Icon, Julie Macintosh, John Wiley & Sons, Inc


  1. ^ a b Kosmodel, David, "Anheuser CEO Fight for His Legacy," Wall Street Journal, A1, May 27, 2008
  2. ^ a b Sellers, Patricia (January 13, 1997). "Bud-Weis-Heir August Busch Iv Is Rebellious, Risk-Taking--And (Nearly) Ready To Rule The World's Largest Brewer". CNN. 
  3. ^ "Patrick T. Stokes Profile -". Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  4. ^ Sellers, Patricia (1997-01-13). "BUD-WEIS-HEIR AUGUST BUSCH IV IS REBELLIOUS, RISK-TAKING-AND (NEARLY) READY TO RULE THE WORLD'S LARGEST BREWER. - January 13, 1997". Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  5. ^ a b c Kesmodel, David (2010-09-29). "New Book Says Busch Family Lost Budweiser Amid Infighting, Missed Deals - Deal Journal - WSJ". Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  6. ^ "Anheuser-Busch Companies - Historical Price Lookup". 1996-03-26. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  7. ^ "Adolphus Busch IV Responds as InBev Courts A-B Stockholders | | St. Louis, MO". Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  8. ^ Espinoza, Javier (2008-07-11). "InBev Seen Sweetening On Anheuser". Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  9. ^ Kesmodel, David; Cimilluca, Dana; Berman, Dennis (July 15, 2008). "Anheuser Deal Recognizes Its Tough Spot". The Wall Street Journal. 
  10. ^ a b Arndorfer, James B. (2005-06-27). "IS HE BUSCH LEAGUE? - Advertising Age - News". Archived from the original on 24 December 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  11. ^ "InBev Bud". 2008-05-23. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  12. ^ a b c TODD C. FRANKEL 314-340-8110 (2010-10-27). "For Busch family, woman's death is latest in tragic history". Archived from the original on 4 February 2011. Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Busch IV talks about death of girlfriend, his depression". Archived from the original on 4 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  14. ^ "Where Did August Busch IV Go?". 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  15. ^ a b Garrison, Chad (2009-01-30). "She Was His Wife, But She Wasn't his "Bud" ... The August Busch IV Divorce Files – St. Louis News – Daily RFT". Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  16. ^ Deb Peterson (30 January 2009). "After marriage of A-B and InBev, Busch IV filed for divorce". St. Louis Post Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  17. ^ a b P 366: Dethroning the King, The Hostile Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, an American Icon – Julie MacIntosh
  18. ^ CBS News (24 December 2010). "August Busch IV in Headlines After Model Death". Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p William Knoedelseder (2012). "Ch 14: "Warning Sign"". Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer. HarperBusiness. ISBN 978-0062009265. 
  20. ^ a b "Pima County District Attorney" (PDF). 
  21. ^ Garrison, Chad (2010-09-30). "The Women of August Busch IV (NSFW) - St. Louis News - Daily RFT". Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  22. ^ Garrison, Chad (2009-01-30). "St. Louis Has Its Playboy Back! - St. Louis News - Daily RFT". Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  23. ^ "It's "dark back there:" 911 call from Busch home". 2010-10-27. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  24. ^ "View source – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  25. ^ Pistor, Nick. "Woman found dead in home of August Busch IV". Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  26. ^ Kesmodel, David (2010-12-24). "Woman Found Dead at Home of Former Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch IV –". Archived from the original on 28 December 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  27. ^ "Adrienne Nicole Martin Death Investigation Prompts Controversy". Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  28. ^ "42 minutes passed before 911 call about death at Busch home". 2010-10-27. Archived from the original on 4 February 2011. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  29. ^ JESSE BOGAN • > 314-340-8255 (2010-12-31). "In memorial, Adrienne Martin is remembered as talented, devoted". Archived from the original on 4 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  30. ^ "Cremation won't hurt death investigation of Busch girlfriend". 
  31. ^ "Busch girlfriend's mother doesn't blame him for death, she says". 
  32. ^ a b "Woman's family squabbles in suit against Busch". Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  33. ^ "Busch girlfriend died with cocaine, oxycodone in system, sources say". 2011-02-06. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  34. ^ "Wrongful-death suit filed against August Busch IV in overdose death". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  35. ^ "Busch wrongful death suit challenged by overdosed woman's father". 2011-04-08. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  36. ^ "Busch OKs $1.5 million payment to settle suit". Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  37. ^ Sellers, Patricia (1997-01-13). "BUD-WEIS-HEIR AUGUST BUSCH IV IS REBELLIOUS, RISK-TAKING-AND (NEARLY) READY TO RULE THE WORLD'S LARGEST BREWER. - January 13, 1997". Retrieved 2010-12-24.