Alumni - complete the online survey here




Patrick Houlihan

inducted 2015 Business

About Patrick Houlihan

Patrick William Houlihan, B.Sc. (Hons), M.B.A.
DuluxGroup Limited, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

Patrick Houlihan is the eldest child of Bill and Beverley. His four brothers and one sister all attended Emmanuel College (St. Joseph's CBC and St. Ann's College). Interestingly, all six children went on to university and graduated with science degrees.

Patrick grew up on a small family dairy farm in Winslow and attended the local State Primary School from prep to grade four, at which time the school was closed due to a lack of student numbers. He completed his grade five and six primary schooling at St John's, Dennington.

Patrick then attended St Joseph's, Christian Brother's College, Warrnambool from 1979 to 1984. He was a School Prefect in year twelve and graduated as Dux of Science. His time at CBC ingrained a sense of curiosity and helped him understand that science is an enabler of so much of what we enjoy in society. The school also encouraged him to broaden his horizons and consider progressing to university, which he did.

He was accepted to undertake a Bachelor of Science at The University of Melbourne, from 1985 to 1988. During this time he resided on campus at St. Mary's College. To fund his studies he worked at Target's Warrnambool warehouse for two summers and then at Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) explosives research facility in Melbourne at the end of third year. He graduated with First Class Honours in Chemistry.

Patrick was accepted to undertake a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Chemistry in 1989, however he chose to defer this and accepted employment as a graduate industrial chemist at Dulux paints in Melbourne. At that time the Dulux business was part of the Australian division of U.K. global giant ICI.

He spent nine years in research & development, eventually leading Dulux's polymer technology team. His work has been recognised with three international patents and his team was awarded ICI's global award in colloid chemistry. His time in R&D also included working at ICI's R&D hub in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A. from 1992 to 1993. It was here that he met his wife Susan.

Upon his return to Australia he undertook a Master of Business Administration at the Monash Mt. Eliza Business School from 1995 to 1998 on a part-time basis, while continuing to work full-time as a chemist. He graduated with the Director's Award, which was given to the top five percent of the graduating students.

Following ICI Plc U.K. divesting their shareholding of ICI Australia in 1997 (now called Orica Limited), Patrick transitioned through a succession of commercial and senior leadership roles within the business, including Dulux Australia Corporate and Independent Sales, Dulux ANZ Marketing Director, Selleys ANZ Sales Director and Yates ANZ General Manager.

Patrick was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Orica's DuluxGroup division and a member of the Orica Limited Group Executive in 2007. Upon the demerger of DuluxGroup Limited from Orica in July 2010, Patrick was appointed to his current role of DuluxGroup Managing Director and CEO. He is an Executive Director and Member of the Safety & Sustainability Committee.

DuluxGroup has operations in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, South-east Asia and China and has in excess of 4,000 employees. Its businesses include Dulux paints and coatings, Cabot's wood care, Selleys adhesives, Yates garden care and B&D garage doors, amongst others. Since the demerger, DuluxGroup has more than doubled its market capitalisation from $850 million to over $2 billion and its shares have markedly outperformed the ASX 200 index. DuluxGroup entered the S&P ASX100 in 2014.

Outside of work, Patrick has been on the Advisory Council of St. Mary's College at the University of Melbourne since 2010. In 2014 he was appointed as a Director of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, which is world renowned for its research into infant, child and adolescent health. He is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a member of the Business Council of Australia and is as Ambassador to the National Association of Women in Operations.

Patrick and Susan reside in Melbourne with their children Liam, Caroline and Phoebe.

Patrick Houlihan

Watch Patrick Houlihan biography