Mark Johnson AO
Mark Johnson AO
Mark is Chairman of Alinta Energy, a Director of Westfield Group and Senior Adviser to Gresham Partners. He is also Chairman of the ASIC External Advisory Panel, an adviser to Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in Australia and chairs Dateline Resources, a junior exploration company.
He has spent more than forty years in banking and corporate finance and retired as Deputy Chairman of Macquarie Bank in 2007 and as Chairman of Macquarie Infrastructure Group in 2010. He has recently retired as Chairman of AGL Energy and Guinness Peat Group.
Mark was Chairman of the Australian Financial Centre Task Force, an Australian Government initiative directed towards ensuring efficiency and competitiveness in the financial services sector. From 2002-2013 he was one of the three Australian representatives on the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and Chairman of the APEC CEO Summit in Sydney in 2007.
Other current affiliations include: the US Study Centre Foundation at Sydney University, the APEC Study Centre at RMIT University, the Institute for International Trade at the University of Adelaide, and the SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong.
Tom Harley (Managing Director) is a political scientist with an economics and finance background. In 2008, Tom was appointed non-executive Chairman of Dow Chemical (Australia) and Senior Advisor to The Dow Chemical Company’s Executive Leadership Team (Globally). Tom was President of Corporate Development at BHP, where he designed and implemented BHP’s worldwide political risk analysis methodology and developed strategies in countries where BHP wanted to do business – including some very challenging African and Asian countries. He has worked on fiscal regime issues across the resources sector in many different countries. He was previously head of Mergers and Acquisitions for BHP’s Petroleum Group. Prior to his work in Petroleum, Tom was involved in BHP’s financial restructuring and funding in BHP’s Corporate Treasury. Tom is a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University and Chairman of the Australia Saudi Business Council. Tom was previously President of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust.
John Brenton (Director) is an international trade, investment and foreign policy specialist. From 2011-2016, John worked in the Australian Foreign Service (DFAT), including serving as Vice Consul, Australian Consulate-General Los Angeles (2012-2015). As Vice Consul, John was charged with advancing Australia’s foreign and trade objectives in the United States (US), advising Australian industry on US market conditions and reporting on strategic political and economic issues. John also drove Australia’s economic diplomacy in the United States, principally through G’Day USA – a program which advances cooperation with the US in foreign policy, defence and innovation and promotes trade and investment. John has substantial commercial experience gained from over a decade working in business management and development roles at large corporations, including Woolworths and Nestle. He has a Master’s Degree in International Relations and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Commerce.
Associate Director Africa and Middle East
Anna Rabin (Associate Director Africa and Middle East) is a political risk and foreign policy expert. During her time with Dragoman, Anna has worked with clients to provide bespoke political, commercial and strategic advice. She has experience developing country entrance, exit, and monitoring strategies – including competitor analysis, scenario planning and provided advice around engagement with government, the public sector and multi-laterals. Anna previously worked as a Senior Consultant with africapractice, a strategy and communications consultancy, based in its Tanzanian office. At africapractice Anna was responsible for leading projects across East Africa and managing a team of consultants advising some of the largest investors in the region in sectors such as oil and gas, power, telecommunications, agriculture, financial services and the construction industry. Anna previously worked as an East Africa Analyst at Think Africa Press in London. She has a Master’s Degree with Distinction in African Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, a Bachelor’s Degree with First Class Honours in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Melbourne and a Graduate Certificate in Commerce.
Dr Michael Baxter
Dr Michael Baxter
Michael Baxter is an expert in international development. Michael has worked in over 40 developing countries, with a particular focus on Africa, Latin America, South Asia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific; he has lived for significant periods in each of these regions.
Most of Michael’s career has been in operations and management with the World Bank, first on rural production and infrastructure, then in country program management, extractive industries and private sector development. Based in Mozambique from 2004 – 2009, Michael managed World Bank strategy and programs in Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In 2009 he founded the consultancy firm, OzMozis Lda, in Mozambique; it focuses on investment advice and risk assessment in extractive industries in southern Africa. He also chairs the Investment Committee of Africa’s largest agri-business competitive fund, the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, and from 2011 – 2013 was director of the Australia-Africa Partnerships Facility, which is an AusAID-funded, Africa-wide technical assistance project for mining governance, economic and public policy, and agriculture and food security. Michael is the team leader of an 18 – 30 month (commenced June 2014) World Bank assessment of mining governance and investment that will be implemented in mining economies in Africa, and perhaps in other regions.
Michael has a Ph. D. in regional planning and economic geography from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a B.A. (Hons.) (double first class honors) from the University of Melbourne and an M.A. from the University of Papua New Guinea. He has participated in training programs on management, economics, policy analysis and environmental issues at the World Bank and the Harvard Business School (Advanced Management Program).
Jose Blanco has played a leading role in building the commercial links between Australia and the markets of Latin America and Spain for over 20 years, and has advised a large number of companies as regards to their operations in each of these markets.
After 22 years of managing the operations of Spain’s Banco Santander in Australia, Jose established the advisory firm, Blanco Partners, in 2012 and became a Counsellor of Dragoman in 2013.
Jose is also chairman of the Australia-Latin America Business Council. He previously served as the Deputy Chairman of the Australian Government’s Council on Australia Latin America Relations from 2001 to 2010 and as President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Australia from 2001 to 2008. Jose was also a member of the Advisory Council of the Institute for International Studies of the University of Technology, Sydney from 1997 to 2001.
Prior to joining Banco Santander, Jose was a partner in the Australian law firm, Bodors, and later a consultant to the law firm, Cutler Hughes and Harris. He has also served as a non-executive director of several Spanish-controlled companies operating in Australia. Jose was awarded the Spanish ‘Orden de Mérito Civil’ in 1992, the Chilean ‘Orden de Bernardo O’Higgins’ in 1995 and in 2001 the ‘Orden Olímpica’ by the Spanish National Olympic Committee.
Bill Farmer AO
Bill Farmer AO
Bill Farmer joined the Australian Foreign Service in 1969 and served in the Australian diplomatic missions in Cairo, London and Fiji. He was subsequently Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations; Ambassador of Australia to Mexico, the Central American Republics and Cuba; and Australian High Commissioner in Papua New Guinea (1993 – 1995) and Malaysia (1996 – 1997). Bill was Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (1997 – 1998); and, from 1998 to 2005, Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs; Secretary of the Department of Reconciliation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs; and Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. He was then Australian Ambassador to Indonesia from 2005 to 2010.
In 2010, Bill was appointed to the High-Level Panel of Review of the Australian Aid Program. In 2011, he was appointed to conduct an Independent Review of the Australian Livestock Export Industry, and in 2012 to chair an Independent Review of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. In 2014, Bill was appointed Senior Advisor to the Australian Government on the Kokoda Initiative between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Bill is a member of the Board of the Asia Society Australia, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Australia and a member of the Northern Territory Chief Minister’s Advisory Council. Bill was awarded the centenary medal in 2003 and was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2005.
Michael Gill studied commerce and history and worked in the steel industry and banking before taking up a career in journalism that led to a leadership role in financial media. He has observed, at close quarters, the rise and, in some cases, the fall of many business figures and organisations in Australia and the region. He made a close study of a wide variety of corporate and public policy fields. Ranging from the oil shocks of the 1970’s, two resources booms, two periods of aggressive action in capital markets and the 1990’s IT boom, his knowledge of events and people is unusually diverse. His analysis of the liberalisation of capital markets and the development of globalisation has afforded him a special perspective on many of the trends apparent today.
Michael became a senior executive at Fairfax in the mid 1990’s and led the company’s business media through 13 years of development and change, delivering a record of profitability and innovation that positioned the business strongly for constantly evolving consumer preference. Michael’s early adoption of a high value approach to digital publishing was initially controversial, but was proved by the sustained outperformance of the business for more than a decade. He first visited China in 1978 and Japan in 1980 and has maintained a close interest in the society and economy of both countries. He also travels regularly on assignment or for business to India, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar and South Korea.
Michael has had extensive experience in business strategy development, merger and acquisition work in the media, Asian business development, digital media and business turnaround analysis. Michael has completed a variety of assignments for clients of Dragoman and has advised on a number of business ventures and business strategy revisions related to digital media innovation. He was CEO of the Financial Review Group from 1998 to 2011 and Chairman of Australian Associated Press from 1999 to 2011. He was President of UNICEF Australia between 2007 and 2014.
Paulo Gomes is a global business leader, active environmentalist and a key political actor in Guinea Bissau.
After eight years as Executive Director on the Board of the World Bank Group representing 25 African nations, Paulo Gomes launched the Constelor Group in 2006 and became a Counsellor of Dragoman.
Career highlights include joining the World Bank as an Alternate Director in 1998. In 2002, he was promoted to the Executive Directorship and became one of 24 members of the World Bank Board tasked with leading the Bank’s strategic and oversight activities.
Paulo started his career in Africa in 1988 when he joined the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Trade in his native Guinea-Bissau. As Director of Strategic Planning and Principal Adviser to the Minister, he led the effort to introduce the country into the West African Monetary Union (“UEMOA”).
In 1997, Paulo obtained a Masters’ degree with Honours in Economic Policy and Management from the Kennedy School of Government (USA). He is a member of the Board of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (“ETI”), a leader in the banking sector in Africa, and of the Board of Asky Airlines. He is Chairman of AFIG, an African Private Equity Fund, and he belongs to a number of networks, including the 3A Forum. He is also a member of the Board of the Green Climate Fund, Presidente of the Benten Institut (economic and social think tank in Guinea Bissau).
Running for the first time in the 2014 presidential elections, without any party backing, Paulo managed to rally over 10 percent of the electorate. At barely 50 years old, Paulo will continue to be a key figure in the political landscape of the country.
Tom Gregg is currently an Advisor at the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and a Non Resident Fellow of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation. He has facilitated regional cooperation agreements between the governments of Afghanistan and its neighbours in South/Central Asia and the Middle East. He has also advised various European and African governments on issues around regional cooperation, security and counterterrorism.
Previously, Tom was a Special Advisor to the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Afghanistan (2007 – 2009), and was Head of the Southeast Regional Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) (2005 – 2007). Tom has also worked for the Australian Council for International Development as a Policy Officer (Pacific Region) and as a researcher and guest lecturer at the Australian National University’s Department of International Relations.
He earned a Master of Arts in International Relations at The Australian National University, where he was a Hedley Bull Scholar, and a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) at Victoria University.
The Hon Robert Hill AC
The Hon Robert Hill AC
Robert Hill was a member of the Australian Senate from 1981 to 2006, representing South Australia. He was educated at the University of Adelaide and the London School of Economics, where he gained a Masters degree in law.
Robert was elected Leader of the Liberal Party and Leader of the Opposition in the Senate from 1990 to 1996 when, on the election of the Howard Government, he became Leader of the Government in the Senate from March 1996 until his resignation in January 2006. He was Minister for the Environment 1996 – 1998, Minister for the Environment and Heritage 1998 – 2002 and Minister for Defence from November 2001 to January 2006. In July 2005, the Coalition parties took control of the Senate and Robert became the first Government Leader in the Senate since 1981 to command a majority in the chamber. In January 2006 he announced his resignation from the Parliament. Robert was appointed Australian Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the United Nations in New York from 2006 to 2009. From 2009 until January 2012 Robert served as Chairman of the Australian Carbon Trust (later Low Carbon Australia Ltd.).
He is Adjunct Professor in Sustainability at the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and Chairman of the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living at the University of New South Wales. He was Chancellor of the University of Adelaide between 2010 – 2014.
In June 2012 Robert was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the Parliament in the portfolios of Environment and Defence and to Australia’s International relations.
John McCarthy AO
John McCarthy AO
Born in Washington DC, John McCarthy was educated at Cambridge University where he received a Master of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws degree. He is a barrister-at-law and practised in London from 1965 to 1966. He worked with the New York Law Firm of Shearman & Sterling from 1966 to 1967 and joined the then Australian Foreign Service in 1968.
John served as Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam (1981 – 1983), Ambassador to Mexico (1985 – 1987) and Ambassador to Thailand (1992 – 1994). From 1994 to 1995, he was Deputy Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra. He was then appointed Ambassador to the United States from 1995 to 1997, Ambassador to Indonesia from 1997 to 2001 and Ambassador to Japan from July 2001 to 2004. He has also served in Damascus, Baghdad and Vientiane. He was High Commissioner to India from 2004 until he left the Foreign Service in 2009. He currently serves as Co-convener of the Australia-Indonesia Dialogue and National President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, and has carried out a number of special missions for the Minister for Foreign Affairs. John was previously Chair of the Australia India Council. He is also associated with Melbourne, Griffith and Murdoch Universities and is an Adviser to Mitsubishi Materials Corporation.
Sir Kieran Prendergast KCVO, CMG
Sir Kieran Prendergast KCVO, CMG
Kieran has a unique range of experience in international affairs. He was Under Secretary General of the United Nations for Political Affairs, and in this role served as the Senior British member of United Nations Secretariat and was chief foreign policy adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General for more than eight years (1997 – 2005), responsible for managing crises in places as varied as Congo, Cyprus, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, Iraq and East Timor. Prior to this role, he led a distinguished career in the British Foreign Office as British Ambassador to Turkey (1995 – 1997); British High Commissioner to Zimbabwe (1989 – 1992) and to Kenya (1992 – 1995); Head of Southern Africa Department in the Foreign Office (1986 – 1989) during a critical period in bringing apartheid to an end and Namibia to independence; and as Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Israel (1982 – 1986). He had also served as Deputy Private Secretary to two Foreign Secretaries (1976 – 1979 – Anthony Crosland and David Owen).
Kieran has particular expertise in the wider Middle East (including Afghanistan, Iraq and in the Middle East Peace Process), Central, East and Southern Africa as well as the Horn of Africa, and the eastern Mediterranean. He is fluent in Turkish and French. He was educated in Australia (St Patrick’s, Sydney), Salesian College, Chertsey, and St Edmund Hall, Oxford (Oriental Studies).
Kieran has remained active in the field of conflict management and resolution. His positions include: Senior Adviser to the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva; Chairman of the Anglo-Turkish Association; Trustee of the Beit Trust; member of the Council of Experts of the Democratic Progress Institute; member of the International Advisory Board of the NGO Independent Diplomat; and member of the Advisory Board of the strategic communications group Albany Associates. He was also a Senior Adviser to BHPB from 2006 to 2009, where he chaired numerous country entry workshops and represented BHPB at Board meetings of the International Crisis Group, and was Chairman of the UN Follow Up Committee on Nigerian withdrawal from Bakassi Peninsula (2006 – 2009). He is also a Patron of the Beyond Borders Literary Festival, and, in 2012, was appointed Counsellor to the English Speaking Union.
Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC
Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC
Malcolm’s career is remarkable for the breadth and depth of experience at the highest levels of government, international policy and global commerce. Malcolm was born in Edinburgh and educated at George Watson’s College and the University of Edinburgh where he studied law before taking a postgraduate degree in political science. While at University, he took part in an overland expedition to the Middle East and India. He worked as an Assistant Lecturer at the University College of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) from 1967 – 1968 and was called to the Scottish Bar in 1970 and practised full time as an Advocate until 1974. He was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1985 and a member of the Privy Council in 1986.
Malcolm is a former British Foreign Minister and Minister of Defence. He was first elected to Parliament in 1974, and after serving as Minister of State at the Foreign Office from 1982 to 1986, became a member of Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet in 1986 as Secretary of State for Scotland. In 1990, he was appointed by John Major as Secretary of State for Transport, and in 1992 as Secretary of State for Defence. From 1995 to 1997 he was Foreign Secretary. He was one of only four ministers to serve throughout the whole 18 year tenures of both Margaret Thatcher and John Major. In 2005, after eight years in the private sector, Malcolm returned to the House of Commons by being elected Member of Parliament for Kensington and Chelsea. From 2010 until 2015 he was Chairman of the United Kingdom’s Intelligence and Security Committee which provides oversight of Britain’s intelligence agencies, MI6, MI5 and GCHQ. Malcolm is a member of the Eminent Persons Panel of the OSCE considering the West’s relations with Russia. He is also a Board Member of the Nuclear Threat Initiative based in Washington and has been active in GlobalZero and other organisations concerned with nuclear security. He served as a member of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group which reported to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in Perth, Australia.
David Russell AM RFD QC
David Russell AM RFD QC
David Russell AM RFD QC was admitted as a solicitor in 1974, and was called to the Bar in 1977. He is admitted to practise in Australia, England and Wales, New York (as a Legal Consultant) the Courts of the Dubai International Financial Centre, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. He was first appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1986.
David was President of the Taxation Institute of Australia from 1993 to 1995, and of the Asia Oceania Tax Consultants Association (AOTCA) from 1996 to 2000. He is a member of the Law Council of Australia Business Law Section Taxation Committee. He is the AOTCA representative on the Global Tax Advisers Co-operation Forum.
David is a Director of the STEP and a member of its Worldwide Council, Chairman of STEP’s International Client Special Interest Group and a member if its Public Policy Committee, a co-chair of the UAE Chapter of the International Section of the New York State Bar Association, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Section, an Academician of The International Academy of Estate and Trust Law, an Honorary Member of the Taxation Institute of Hong Kong and a Fellow Member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (UK). He is co-editor of the Oxford University Press publication Trusts and Trustees and was its Australian correspondent from 2007 to 2015.
David is listed in the Taxation Category in the Australian Financial Review/Best Lawyers review of the Australian Legal Profession in 2008 and all later years. In 2012, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for, amongst other things, “service … to taxation law and legal education”. In 2014 he was awarded the inaugural Tax Institute’s Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year.
He served as President of the Australia-Japan Society in Queensland from 1997 to 2002, and as inaugural President of the National Federation of Australia Japan Societies from 2001 to 2005. In 2010 he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun with Gold Rays and Neck Ribbon for services to Australia–Japan relations. David is a member of the Executive Committee of the Australia Saudi Business Council and in 2016 was appointed Chairman of the Working Group to review the private wealth offering of the Dubai International Financial Centre.
After a career with Dow Chemical spanning 36 years, Noel returned to Australia and has been supporting strategy development in the manufacturing and energy sectors. Most recently In his career at Dow, Noel was appointed as Vice President to lead Dow’s Business Development efforts in Asia Pacific while previously he had been President of Dow in South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, both based in Singapore.
After graduating in Chemical Engineering from Queensland University, a career with Dow began with assignments in manufacturing in Australia, the US, and Hong Kong, in plastics and chemicals technologies. On return to Australia, responsibilities in a variety of plant management roles, Manufacturing Manager and Operations Director for Dow Australia led to active participation in the Australian industry, interface with the local community and participation in Industry / Government task forces.
In 1992, Noel transferred to Thailand to take on the role of Country Manager for Dow and Managing Director of Dow’s joint ventures to lead the investment program in Thailand and guide the growth of the developing operations which have become a significant part of the Map Ta Phut petrochemical complex near Rayong. Returning to Australia in 1996, he took up the role of Director of Strategic Development for Asia Pacific. Prior to his move to Singapore, Noel was the Managing Director for Dow in ANZ, Managing Director of Dow’s JV with Huntsman, Polystyrene Australia and Business Development Director for SEA.
Noel is a past Chairman of the board of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) in Australia and was a Governor and Treasurer of the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore . He is also a past President and Director of the Australian Plastics and Chemicals Industry Association. Noel also serves on the UQ Chemical Engineering School Advisory Board, The Dow Centre Board for Sustainable Engineering Innovation and not-for-profit Boards.
Liam Eldon (Senior Analyst) is an international trade, diplomacy and foreign policy specialist. Liam has worked for the Australian Consulate-General Los Angeles and the Australian Embassy to the United Arab Emirates (and Qatar). Liam has experience working in state and federal government and has worked throughout Australia, Europe, the Gulf and the Americas. Liam has an Honors in International Relations at the University of Salford, Manchester and a Masters in International Studies at the University of Queensland.