ROBERT Beard, better known as Bob around the office and friends, lights up when he speaks of Malaysia.
“Malaysia is a beautiful country. A lot of people underestimate this place. It's vibrant and dynamic, has lots to offer and the ethnicity of the people is truly a melting pot.
“You have people with various backgrounds and traditions here. The main races like the Malays, Chinese, Indians; then you have the Eurasians, Babas and Nyonyas, the various tribes from Sabah and Sarawak and also a new generation of mixed Chinese and Indian heritage, the Chinese and Malay and so forth.
“And the beauty of it is that all the ethnic groups live in harmony. This is uniquely Malaysian,” says the 60-year-old vibrant and youthful man.
Beard hails from Paisley, Scotland. He moved to Australia in the late 60s and was admitted to the Australian Institute of Building and soon became a quantity surveyor.
Beard spent most of the 70s working as managing director for PBS (NSW) Pty Ltd and lectured at the Sydney Technical College.
In November 1981, he joined McDonald's as a construction director responsible for the design and building of new stores and reinvestments.
By 1991, he was appointed as the development director for McDonald's Australia Ltd, a wholly-owned operation of McDonald's Corp in the US.
With a team of 82 persons, Beard headed the market planning and development from the initial site acquisition to equipment installation right up to a potential and outlined 10-year growth plan for the company.
In 1998, he was appointed development director for McDonald's Asia-Pacific.
Beard came to Malaysia in February 2002, with his wife Moira, to take on the helm of McDonald's Malaysia as a CEO and country manager.
A big fan of the Big Mac and Quarter Pounder with cheese, Bob expresses his joy of working with people, especially teenagers – “They are absolutely fantastic.”
Beard has a son, Mark, who is a barrister in London and a daughter Marie Claire, a banker, in Sydney.
He also has two grandchildren, Sarah and James, who eagerly await their grandparent's visits to Australia.
“Family is so important. Everyday if you don't see your family, it would be a great loss,” he advises in a grandfatherly manner.
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