August Busch IV

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August Busch IV
August A. Busch IV with Budweiser Clydesdale.jpg
Busch with a Budweiser Clydesdale in 2006
August Adolphus Busch IV

(1964-06-15) June 15, 1964 (age 55)
Alma materSaint Louis University
VLB Berlin
OccupationBoard member of Anheuser-Busch InBev
Retired president and CEO, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
Retired director, FedEx
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 an American businessman and former CEO of Anheuser-Busch. He was the last of the family to control the company, which was purchased in a hostile takeover in 2008 by InBev. He also previously served as a director of shipping giant FedEx.[1]

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 August Busch III, the former chairman, president and CEO of the company.

Busch's parents divorced when he was five, and he lived with his mother. His time with his father was mostly spent at the brewery and their relationship was, for the most part, professional.[2]


Busch received a bachelor's degree in finance and later a master's degree in business administration from Saint Louis University. He later served on the university's board of trustees.[3]

In his early twenties, Busch earned a brewmaster's degree from Versuchs und Lehranstalt fur Brauerei, a brewing institute in Berlin.[4]


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.[5]

In 1989, he moved into marketing, working on the Bud Dry brand launch. Although the launch was considered a success, the product ultimately proved to be unsuccessful.

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."[5]

Chairman and InBev takeover[edit]

Former Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch IV (right) with Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett (left). 2006

In 2002, Busch (and other family members) were passed over when the company named Patrick Stokes as its first non-family president and CEO.[6] Busch's father had said that he owns 1% of the stock and that the "board of directors calls the shots" at the company.[7]

In 2004, as president of the company, Busch IV announced the brewer had purchased the 20-year naming rights to a new Busch Stadium, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals. Team owner William Dewitt Jr. said: “From the day we began planning for the new ballpark, we wanted to keep the name ‘Busch Stadium.' August Busch IV and Anheuser-Busch share our vision for continuing that tradition for our great fans and the entire St. Louis community.”[8] Dewitt, as part of an ownership group, had purchased the team from the brewery in 1996.[9]

Busch became president and CEO effective December 2006. Busch's father had been criticized for not expanding globally and leaving the company open for acquisition. In 2007, August and the directors began discussions to acquire Diageo but the deal never advanced.[10]

Less than 18 months into Busch's tenure, rumors circulated that InBev was attempting to buy the company. In April 2008, Busch told beer distributors that Anheuser-Busch would never be bought "on my watch." A-B stock had closed at $49.20 on April 30, 2008.[11] InBev offered $65 per share in June, and Busch refused. Prior to InBev's offer, A-B's stock had never been higher than $51.97. In hopes of keeping its independence, Busch proposed acquiring the remaining 50% it did not own of Grupo Modelo.[10] InBev then said it would not include Busch in the new company board, but would include his uncle Adolphus Busch IV, who had favored the deal.[12] Eventually InBev sweetened its bid to $70 per share and kept Busch on the board.[13]

On July 13, 2008, he signed off on the sale of A-B to InBev, ending 156 years of family control.[14]

Press reports indicated that the Busch family ownership of the company had greatly dwindled over the years, with Busch's father owning 1.2 percent at the time of the takeover. In total, the Busch family owned 4 percent of the company[15] and were not the company's biggest shareholders. Barclay's owned 6 percent and Berkshire Hathaway owned 5 percent.[16] The family did not own supervoting stock, as do many publicly traded companies with family affiliations. The board did not employ the common takeover defense tactic of staggering its board of directors terms (the A-B board was re-elected each year).[citation needed]

According to reports, Busch and his father were estranged. His father was said to have engineered the A-B takeover blindsiding the son. The public conflict between father and son led to the higher price.[10] A-B gave Busch a title of non-executive director and a contract as a consultant that ran until December 2013.[citation needed] He was also given a security detail through 2011.[17]

The deal was worth $100 million to Busch.[18] 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.[19] The same month the InBev takeover was completed, Busch resigned as a director of FedEx Corp, a position he had held since 2003.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Busch 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.[15]

Busch married Kathryn "Kate" Thatcher, sixteen years his junior, in August 2006 in Bradford, Vermont[21] shortly before becoming CEO. He filed for divorce on November 26, 2008; the same month the InBev takeover was completed. The couple had a prenuptial agreement, and the divorce moved quickly through the courts, becoming official at the end of January 2009.[20][21][22] The couple had no children.

Legal troubles[edit]

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

At age 19, 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 model and waitress.[23] According to witnesses, Busch had left a bar early one morning with Frederick.[24] The vehicle wrecked at a 25 mph curve known for accidents.[24] The car flipped and Frederick flew through the sunroof and was probably killed instantly when the car rolled over her.[24] Busch left the scene of the accident without informing anyone.[24] When police arrived on the scene hours later, they found empty Bud Light cans scattered in and around the car, along with Busch's driver's license.[24] Deputies 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.[24] Busch was found to have suffered a skull fracture in the accident.[25] After a lengthy investigation by the Pima County Sheriff's Department in July 1984, the Pima County District Attorney announced he was not charging Busch with any wrongdoing.[24][25] He said that while Busch appeared to have been speeding at 45 mph, that was not sufficient for charges, and witnesses from the bar did not report that he appeared to be drinking excessively.[25]

As part of regular procedure, police took blood and urine samples from Busch while he was in custody. These samples were to assess whether and how much he had been drinking at the time of the accident.[24] However, the hospital lost the urine sample, and the blood sample had been run through a centrifuge, rendering it useless.[24] No one in the staff could explain what had happened. Police investigator Ron Benson said he had never before seen samples mishandled by hospital staff.[24] Years later Benson said, "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."[24]

William Knoedelseder, who wrote a biography of the Busch family, speculated that Busch attorneys likely made a private, secret settlement with the Frederick family.[24] August IV's mother, Susie Busch, wrote in a newspaper column that her son had not been treated justly: "there is no just treatment for families with a name and money."[24]

Car chase (1985)[edit]

Busch was arrested at the age of 20 in St. Louis after leading undercover police in an unmarked car on a chase with speeds reaching between 85 and 90 mph.[26] on Kingshighway Boulevard in the Central West End of the city. He was returning from visiting PT's Sports Cabaret, a strip bar in Sauget, Illinois.[26] The officers ended the chase by shooting out the rear tire of Busch's car. Busch claimed he thought they were attempting to kidnap him.[2] The police accused him of trying to run over two officers with his Mercedes. Busch was acquitted of assault by a St. Louis jury.[27]

Death of Adrienne Nicole Martin (2010)[edit]

On Sunday December 19, 2010, Adrienne Nicole Martin, a 27-year-old divorcee and part-time waitress who had been dating Busch for about two years, was found dead at Busch's home in Huntleigh, Missouri.[17] Busch was in the house at the time and a household employee called 9-1-1 at 1:15 p.m.[28][17] Her mother said her daughter was happy with Busch,[29] and Adrienne Martin's obituary would describe Busch as "the love of her life."[30]

The initial autopsy revealed no signs of trauma and was inconclusive as to cause of death. Martin's ex-husband Kevin J. Martin, a Cape Girardeau, Missouri osteopathic physician, said Martin suffered from Long QT syndrome, a heart condition that could cause an unexpected sudden death, but he had not discussed this with authorities. Martin's mother said that Martin was taking Trazodone for sleep issues. Kevin Martin noted such use needs to be monitored by a physician.[18]

The matter was investigated by Frontenac, Missouri police, who ordered toxicology tests.[31][32] A toxicology report in February 2011 indicated Martin had cocaine and oxycodone in her system; pill bottles with her name were found containing each of these. She had no prescription for either. The St. Louis County Prosecutor confirmed that Martin had lethal levels of both oxycodone and cocaine in her system, and ruled she died of an accidental overdose.[33] The report noted that Martin's physical condition showed she had been using cocaine for several months to a year.

On March 31, 2011, Adrienne's ex-husband Kevin Martin filed a wrongful death suit against Busch for negligence and on behalf of her son Blake Alexander Martin (born 2002). The case was to be handled in Cape Girardeau.[34] Adrienne's mother announced 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, and also said she would seek custody of her grandson. She was concerned that a friendship between Adrienne's ex-husband and Busch would taint the civil case.[35] 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."[36] Friends of the family noted Eby and Martin had been estranged during her adult years.[35][36]

On April 20, 2011, the press reported that Busch had agreed to a $1.5 million settlement with Kevin Martin on behalf of his son. The court would decide how much could be allocated to Adrienne's parents.[37]

Helicopter Incident[edit]

On July 10, 2017 Busch was arrested in Swansea, Illinois after police alleged he tried to fly a helicopter while intoxicated. According to Swansea police, officers were called around 8:15pm when Busch IV appeared to be trying to take off in his helicopter while intoxicated. He was twice administered a breathalyzer and twice blew a 0.000.[38] He was taken to a local hospital for blood and urine samples after officers conducted field sobriety tests, most of which Busch IV passed.[39][40] Officers believed he may have been under the influence of prescription drugs.[38] Blood tests later came back clean, according to the St. Clair County State's Attorney.[41]

Further reading[edit]

  • Peter Hernon & Terry Ganey, Under the Influence: The Unauthorized Story of the Anheuser-Busch Dynasty, Avon Books, 1992
  • 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". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved December 24, 2010.
  • Business Week; November 11, 2002
  • Forbes; March 3, 2006
  • Julie Macintosh, Dethroning the King: The Hostile Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, An American Icon, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2010 ISBN 1118202821
  • William Knoedelseder, Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer, HarperBusiness, 2012


  1. ^ "FedEx".
  2. ^ a b Kosmodel, David, "Anheuser CEO Fight for His Legacy," Wall Street Journal, A1, May 27, 2008
  3. ^ Oliver, Garrett (2012). The Oxford Companion to Beer. Oxford University Press. p. 197. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  4. ^ Ludington, Callaway (June 14, 1991). "Bud Man". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "Patrick T. Stokes Profile -". Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  7. ^ 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". Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  8. ^ "The Tradition Continues: St. Louis Cardinals to Play in Third 'Busch Stadium'". August 5, 2004. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  9. ^ "Busch to Sell Cardinals". The New York Times. December 23, 1995. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c Kesmodel, David (September 29, 2010). "New Book Says Busch Family Lost Budweiser Amid Infighting, Missed Deals - Deal Journal - WSJ". Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  11. ^ "Anheuser-Busch Companies - Historical Price Lookup". March 26, 1996. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  12. ^ "Adolphus Busch IV Responds as InBev Courts A-B Stockholders | | St. Louis, MO". Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  13. ^ Espinoza, Javier (July 11, 2008). "InBev Seen Sweetening On Anheuser". Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  14. ^ Kesmodel, David; Cimilluca, Dana; Berman, Dennis (July 15, 2008). "Anheuser Deal Recognizes Its Tough Spot". The Wall Street Journal.
  15. ^ a b Arndorfer, James B. (June 27, 2005). "IS HE BUSCH LEAGUE?". Advertising Age. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  16. ^ "InBev Bud". May 23, 2008. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  17. ^ a b c Todd C. Frankel (October 27, 2010). "For Busch family, woman's death is latest in tragic history". Archived from the original on February 4, 2011. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  18. ^ a b "Busch IV talks about death of girlfriend, his depression". Archived from the original on February 4, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  19. ^ "Where Did August Busch IV Go?". September 3, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  20. ^ a b Julie MacIntosh (2011). Dethroning the King, The Hostile Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, an American Icon. John Wiley & Sons. p. 366. ISBN 1118202821.
  21. ^ a b Garrison, Chad (January 30, 2009). "She Was His Wife, But She Wasn't his "Bud" ... The August Busch IV Divorce Files – St. Louis News – Daily RFT". Archived from the original on December 28, 2010. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  22. ^ Deb Peterson (January 30, 2009). "After marriage of A-B and InBev, Busch IV filed for divorce". St. Louis Post Dispatch. Retrieved February 1, 2009.
  23. ^ CBS News (December 24, 2010). "August Busch IV in Headlines After Model Death". Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m 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.
  25. ^ a b c "Pima County District Attorney" (PDF).
  26. ^ a b Garrison, Chad (September 30, 2010). "The Women of August Busch IV (NSFW) - St. Louis News - Daily RFT". Archived from the original on December 28, 2010. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  27. ^ Garrison, Chad (January 30, 2009). "St. Louis Has Its Playboy Back! - St. Louis News - Daily RFT". Archived from the original on December 28, 2010. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  28. ^ Blythe Bernhard (December 27, 2010). "It's "dark back there:" 911 call from Busch home". Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  29. ^ "Busch girlfriend's mother doesn't blame him for death, she says".
  30. ^ Jesse Bogan (December 31, 2010). "In memorial, Adrienne Martin is remembered as talented, devoted". Archived from the original on February 4, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  31. ^ Pistor, Nick. "Woman found dead in home of August Busch IV". Retrieved December 24, 2010.
  32. ^ Kesmodel, David (December 24, 2010). "Woman Found Dead at Home of Former Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch IV –". Archived from the original on December 28, 2010. Retrieved December 24, 2010.
  33. ^ "Busch girlfriend died with cocaine, oxycodone in system, sources say". February 6, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  34. ^ "Wrongful-death suit filed against August Busch IV in overdose death". Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  35. ^ a b "Woman's family squabbles in suit against Busch". Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  36. ^ a b "Busch wrongful death suit challenged by overdosed woman's father". April 8, 2011. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  37. ^ "Busch OKs $1.5 million payment to settle suit". Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  38. ^ a b
  39. ^ Rachel Sudduth (July 11, 2017). "August Busch IV taken into custody after helicopter lands in parking lot". KMOV.
  40. ^ "Former Anheuser Busch CEO August Busch IV Arrested For Flying Helicopter Intoxicated". Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  41. ^