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Phil Ruthven

IBISWorld Founder and Director

Phil Ruthven

Phil Ruthven, the founder of IBISWorld, passed away at the age of 82 after a courageous battle with cancer on Friday 29 July 2022.

Phil was born and raised in Sydney, but called Melbourne home since the late 1960s. A forecaster, entrepreneur and storyteller, Phil spent over 10 years in the food industry, including executive positions in research, production and marketing for Edgell and Petersville, before establishing IBIS Corporate Services as a consulting firm in 1971.

A long-time contributor to TV, radio, newspapers and business magazines, Phil was renowned for his views on topics ranging from business and strategy, through to economic and social issues. Phil didn’t mind being called a futurist, either; he had a great knack for seeing what was ahead over the next 20 years or more.

In addition to his day job, Phil was an Adjunct Professor at The University of Technology (Sydney) and a member of the Australian National University College of Business and Economics Advisory Board. He was also a past board member of the Melbourne Institute and the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), and a past Director of Open Family Australia. Phil was dedicated to addressing homelessness and education in his philanthropic pursuits, and he spent decades doing his bit to make Australia a better place for the underprivileged.

In 2014, Phil was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his significant service to business and the community. In his self-effacing style, Phil dedicated his award to his mother:

‘I’m certainly humbled and proud to accept this, but holy cow – my mother did 10 times as much as I did for the community and never received one. Mum, this is for you.’

Moving away from consulting to deliver online intelligence direct to desktops marked a huge shift for IBISWorld, as did embarking on the information-hungry US economy. Phil had the joy of watching IBISWorld establish a reputation as an essential industry and company intelligence provider for businesses of almost any size.

Although Phil remained on the IBISWorld board until his passing, he stood down as chairman in 2015, having passed executive control of the business to his children in 2001. He spent the next 20 years of his retirement educating Australia’s business community on the keys to business success – probably his biggest passion in life.

Phil’s vision was for IBISWorld to be the world leader in business information. It brought him great satisfaction and pride that his company successfully executed this vision in various iterations over the last 20 years.