Chris Peters, chief executive officer of the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry and 2012 Canberra citizen of the year. Photo: Stuart Walmsley, March 13, 2012. Photo: Casual CAS
Generous tributes are flowing from the Canberra community, marking business leader Chris Peters, who has passed away, as one of the greatest contributors to the city.
Chris will be missed for his quick wit and smile, his generosity of spirit, his innate diplomacy and negotiating skills as well as his unerring perception and understanding of the nature of business and its often complex relationship with Government in the ACT.
Mr Peters, 63, who was the ACT Chamber of Commerce chief executive, succumbed to pancreatic cancer after a 19-month battle.
When he was awarded Canberra Citizen of the Year in 2012, he was described as “a giant of the town”.
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, who gave that award, led the tributes, saying Mr Peters was a kind and generous “giver” who worked quietly behind the scenes to make Canberra a better place.
“I think anyone who has worked in Canberra knows that he has been the public face of the Chamber of Commerce for many, many years,” she said.
“But he’s also had a number of other roles behind the scenes – roles that he wasn’t as public about.
“He did a lot of work with young people at risk, he did a lot of work in vocational education and training.
“He was a huge force in the recovery from the bushfires in pulling together the business community to contribute and give back to Canberra, but he did this all on the quiet.
“He was never someone to shout from the rooftops about all the work he did in addition to the Chamber of Commerce and it was for that work that he was recognised as the 2012 Canberra Citizen of the Year.”
Ms Gallagher said the Legislative Assembly hoped to move a condolence motion but was allowing Mr Peters’ wife, Josephine, time to consider the idea.
ACT Liberal Senator Gary Humphries said he was saddened to hear Canberra had lost a friend with Mr Peter’s passing.
“Chris was an indefatigable advocate for Canberra business and always knew where to find someone to share the next grand plan or vision for the city,” Senator Humphries said.
The chamber announced Mr Peters' death in a statement on Wednesday.
"Chris suffered a setback to his existing condition which resulted in complications from which he was not able to recover," it said.
"Chris will be missed for his quick wit and smile, his generosity of spirit, his innate diplomacy and negotiating skills as well as his unerring perception and understanding of the nature of business and its often complex relationship with Government in the ACT."
The chamber said the family had requested privacy in their time of grief and for donations to be made in his memory to pancreatic cancer research in lieu of flowers.
"The staff and the board of the chamber would like to extend to them our heartfelt condolences. It is anticipated that a memorial service will be organised in due course," it said.
"Donations can be made to the Australasian Gastrointestinal Trials Group, through their fundraising arm called the GI Cancers Institute."
Peter Anderson, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Mr Peters was widely respected.
“Chris was a man of character, a leader of business, respected by governments, a servant of his community and honoured by the nation,” he said.
“He leaves a legacy of achievement that makes us all proud but he will be very sorely missed.
“It is the day we all dreaded.
“In these early days, it is hard to fathom how the business sector or ACT community can fill the gap he leaves but to honour his legacy, we will and must do so."
Do you have a special recollection of Chris Peters? Please leave your tributes in the comments field.