APBF 2015 Confirmed Speakers

Special Address — Gala Dinner

Picture of Nirvana Chaudhary

Nirvana Chaudhary

Nirvana returned to his homeland in 2001 when most young people were leaving Nepal and founded his own company in the field of Financial Services at the age of 19 and lead the way money remittance worked in Nepal. Since then he has been instrumental in turning around and restructuring many businesses under the banner of Chaudhary Group.

Credited with several successful business ventures, and turn-around of quite a few troubled companies, At 30, today, Nirvana is tenaciously carrying forward his father’s legacy as the current Managing Director of Chaudhary Group.

He frequently writes a column on leadership in many prominent business magazines and also leads in various offices of bilateral countries’ Chamber and Commerce Industry. Nirvana is also part of the Energy Council for promoting Renewable Energy with the CNI. Nirvana has been awarded many awards in various fields and has been advisor to many Ministers in the Govt of Nepal. He is also the youngest Honorary Consul General to be appointed in Nepal by Maldives. He has been the Brand Ambassador of WWF Foundation and Founder of Himalayan Climate Change and is the Youngest Founder Member of Entrepreneur Organization, Nepal Chapter and now Young Presidents Organization. Nirvana has led a campaign on “Spirit of Entrepreneurship” and just been featured as the First Nepalese in CNBC’s Young Turks.

Nirvana has studied in some of the World’s leading education institutions like Doon, Harrow and MIT and continues to attend executive courses in other institutions regularly.

Isara Vongkusolkit

Chairman, the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) of Thailand

Opening Session

Picture of Dr. Shamshad Akhtar

Dr. Shamshad Akhtar

In December 2013, Shamshad Akhtar was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. She also serves as UN Sherpa for the G20.

Previously the Secretary-General’s Senior Advisor on Economics and Finance, as well as Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, she served as Governor of the Central Bank of Pakistan from 2006 to 2009; Vice President of the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Region; and held a range of senior posts in the Asian Development Bank, including that of Director-General (South-East Asia region).

Ms. Akhtar was a post-doctoral US Fulbright Fellow at Harvard University, holds a PhD in Economics from the Paisley College of Technology, a Master in Development Economics from the University of Sussex, and an MSc in Economics from Quaid-i-Azam University.

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Datuk Seri Mohamed Iqbal Rawther

Datuk Seri Mohamed Iqbal Rawther is currently Group Executive Director of Farlim Group (Malaysia) Berhad, a company listed in the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. In addition, he also holds Directorships in NT7 and TV9, two members of South-East Asia's largest media group. He is also a Board Member of Binary University College, a private university dedicated to management and entrepreneurship.

Datuk Seri Iqbal is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (FCIB), London, and Chairman of the Malaysian Institute of Management, Malaysia. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and a Masters Degree in Business Administration, both from the University of Malaya. He also has professional certificates from the Institute of Education, University of Birmingham, UK; and the Harvard Business School, USA.

He holds several senior positions including Chairman of the ESCAP Business Advisory Council; Vice President of the ASEAN Business Forum; Honorary Secretary of Malaysia-Japan Economic Association; Deputy President of Malaysia-Gulf Countries Business Council and Chairman of the Malaysian Institute of Management.

H.E. Don Pramudwinai

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand

Ministrial Plenary Session 1 — The New Regional Economic Order

Picture of Dr. Patrick Low

Dr. Patrick Low

Patrick Low is a Visiting Professor at Hong Kong University and Fellow of the Asia Global Institute. Immediately prior to that he was Vice President for Research at the Fung Global Institute in Hong Kong. From 1997 to 2013, he was Chief Economist at the World Trade Organization. He worked for the WTO since its foundation in 1995. He was a senior research economist at the World Bank from 1990-94. He taught at El Colegio de México in Mexico City (1987-90) and worked as a consultant for a range of governments and inter-governmental institutions. During his tenure as Chief Economist at the WTO, he was also an Adjunct Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. He has written widely on a range of trade policy issues.

H.E. Tofail Ahmed, M.P.

Minister for Commerce, Government of Bangladesh

Hon. Dr. Sarath Amunugama

Minister of Special Assignments of Sri Lanka

Hon. Shane Jones

Roving Economic Development Minister for the Pacific, New Zealand

Picture of H.E. LCT Tekreth Kamrang


H.E TEKRETH Kamrang is currently serving as Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce, Royal Government of Cambodia. Her responsibilities include overseeing the work and outputs of the International Cooperation Department and of the Administration and Finance Department. She was appointed as Cambodia Focal Point for the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Programme in 2014. Prior to this, during her tenure as Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Commerce (2008-2013) H.E TEKRETH Kamrang was the Director of the Trade Development Support Program (TDSP), of the EIF Programme for Cambodia and oversaw the work of the International Cooperation Department. Before her involvement with the Ministry of Commerce, she served as chief of the International Cooperation Unit, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Rural Development, Royal Cambodia of Cambodia.

She received her Medical Doctor from the University of Health Science, Cambodia (1996). She holds a Master Degree in Health Policy and Administration from the University of Oklahoma, US (2004). She obtained her Diploma in Human Resource Development in Australia (1999), and her Finance and Procurement Management Diploma in the Philippines (2010).

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Kensuke Tanaka

Kensuke Tanaka is the Head of the Asia Desk of the OECD Development Centre (in France). He is in charge of several publications including the biannual publication "Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India", country reviews for Asian countries, "This Quarter in Asia" (the quarterly bulletin) and Revenue Statistics in Asian countries (with OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration).

He also leads the construction of indicators, for instance, the Asian Business Cycle Indicators (ABCIs), the Medium-term Projection Framework for Growth and Development (MPF) and the Narrowing Development Gaps Indicators (NDGIs).

Plenary 2 — The New Regional Financial Order

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Robyn Meredith

Ms. Robyn Meredith wrote the definitive book on the rise of India and China: “The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What it Means for All of Us,” a New York Times bestseller which has been translated into 14 languages. She is an expert on globalization, geopolitics and Asian business and economic development.

Ms. Meredith is an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong, China, where she works in the Investment Management Division. She helps foundations, individuals and family offices preserve their long-term financial health as a relationship manager in the Private Wealth Management Division.

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James Fierro

Mr. James Fierro is an international businessman and social entrepreneur. He founded HomeGrocer.com, the first company in the world to provide fully integrated Internet grocery shopping, warehouse and delivery services. HomeGrocer was sold three years later in a merger transaction for approximately $1.2 billion.

Through his Family Office, Mr. Fierro has been involved in the identification, development and financing of emerging growth companies. He has over thirty years experience as the Founder and CEO to a range of start-up ventures and is the visionary behind industry innovators in RFID technology, Strategic Planning, Event Marketing, Internet Commerce, Electronic Trading Systems, Online Travel, and Life Safety.

Mr. Fierro began his career as a planning and business strategist, consulting to leading companies in the packaged goods sector including Kraft General Foods, H.J. Heinz, Nabisco, Nestle and Campbell Soup. Mr. Fierro was a long-standing active member of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization and served as both the President of the Vancouver Chapter and a member of its Board of Directors. He has been active in the non-profit sector including serving on the Board of Digital Opportunities Trust and is the founder of Haiti.com, a non-profit effort dedicated to helping rebuild a sustainable Haiti.

Picture of Dr. Bandid Nijathaworn

Dr. Bandid Nijathaworn

Dr. Bandid Nijathaworn is presently President and CEO of the Thai Institute of Directors, Visiting Professor, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan, and member of the Council of trustees and the board of directors of Thailand Development Research Institute.

Dr. Bandid is a well-known economist with a long working experience in macroeconomic and financial issues, including at the IMF where he joined as a young professional in the IMF Economist program. He is widely recognized as a keen commentator on regional and global policy issues and contributes actively to policy discussion and capacity-building in the ASEAN region. In June 2012, he was invited to join the IIF’s Joint Committee on the Strengthening of the Framework for Sovereign Debt Crisis Prevention and Resolution and the Special Committee on Financial Crisis Prevention and Resolution, and was Chairman of the Thai Bond Market Association from May 2011 to April 2014.

Dr. Bandid left the Bank of Thailand in November 2010—where he joined in 1990 and held the positions of deputy Governor for monetary stability and for financial stability since 2004--to work on improving Thailand’s corporate governance and manage the country’s private sector anti-corruption initiative under the capacity of President and CEO of the Thai Institute of Directors. He writes regularly for the Bangkok Post and for his weekly column in a leading Thai business daily on economic and governance issues. He frequently lectures and chair high-level policy and investors meetings throughout Asia including Japan and Singapore.

Dr. Margit Molnar

Head of the China Desk, Economics Department, OECD

Picture of Joe Horn

Joe Horn

Joe heads Strategy613, a boutique advisory firm providing strategic and M&A advice to international corporates looking to expand in Asia, with particular focus on China and Thailand; as well as to blue-chip Asian corporates seeking opportunities abroad. Clients include Philips, the NYSE Euronext Group, Bank of China, COFCO and Kasikornbank.

Joe holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Oxford University and a Master’s degree in Pure Mathematics from Cambridge University. After graduation, Joe joined Deutsche Morgan Grenfell in Singapore and later Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong in Corporate Finance and Mergers & Acquisitions. Joe is fluent in English, Chinese, French and Thai.

Special Address — APBF lunch

Picture of Rosana Wong

Rosana Wong

As the Executive Director of Yau Lee Holdings Limited, Rosana Wong leads and manages the Group’s integrated business sectors and plays a pivotal role in formulating overall strategic planning. With over a decade of entrepreneurial experience, she oversees corporate business development, management of construction projects in Hong Kong, together with the expansion of regional and overseas markets, implementation of full life cycle management, Virtual Design & Construction, and corporate social responsibility.

Her passion for innovation and technology is channeled into building a sustainable ecosystem by conceiving and formulating new business development in Water Sustainability, Energy & Environmental Systems, Nanotechnology & Digital Fabrication, Artificial Intelligence as well as Networks & Computing Systems.

Rosana is a Board Member of Virtual Builder and Advisory Board Member of Center for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE) at Stanford University. She continues to cultivate and incubate new promising technologies within Yau Lee Holdings thanks to these and many other active leadership roles.

Rosana holds a Bachelor Degree in Design from the De Montfort University, a Master Degree in Design from the Royal College of Art in the UK, and Executive Master Degree in Business Administration and Master Degree in Philosophy, both awarded by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and completed an Executive Programme in Technology from the Singularity University in the US.

Plenary 3 — Harnessing Entrepreneurship, technology and innovation for sustainable development

Picture of Akash Bhavsar

Akash Bhavsar

Mr. Akash Bhavsar has several years of technology management and business consulting experience involving diverse industries, including clean technology and renewable energy.

He is the Managing Director of SkyQuest Technology Group, a global intellectual asset and technology focused research, accelerator and investment bank, supporting innovation ecosystems worldwide, providing access to technologies, markets and finance. It provides international business intelligence, market entry, international trade, technology and asset commercialization and fund syndication services, among others. He is also the Manager of India Workstation - South-South Global Assets and Technology Exchange (a UNDP promoted initiative).

Akash has been instrumental in turning promising scientific ideas into useful products and companies. With his prolific experience spanning the United States, Germany, Israel, Canada, Republic of Korea, China, Taiwan Province of China, Singapore, and Malaysia, he possesses a holistic perspective and maintains the skills to diligently evaluate and value the commercialization potential of technologies. He has been part of 32 licensing deals and has been involved in fundraising of approximately US$ 90 million.

Akash has been involved in designing and delivering several courses and workshops related to technology management and entrepreneurship, and he has also authored articles on topics including technology transfer and open innovation. Additionally, he is currently the President of the Indian Innovators Association, Western Chapter, and has recently been appointed to the Board of Management of T.I.I. Luxembourg (Technology Innovation International)

Picture of Karndee Leopairote

Dr. Karndee Leopairote

As a Managing Director of C asean, Dr. Karndee Leopairote aims to build a networking platform for collaboration among startups and future generation across the region to support the development of ASEAN community through various connectivity initiatives. Prior to C asean, Karndee was an assistant professor at the Department of Operations Management, Thammasat Business School and an executive director of the Future Innovative Thailand Institute. As an academician and a thought leader in Thailand, Karndee has put her continuing effort to improve innovative and global mindsets to the young startups and the future generation. She played a lead role in Policy Design Lab – Thailand Blueprint Initiative 2020, to enhance the local wisdom and the public participation, and to propose the national policy innovation. Previously, she served as an advisor Software Industry Promotion Agency and the Deputy Minister of Commerce responsible for the development of creative economy policies and initiatives, and has been actively involved in framing out creative economy policy at the national level. As a media personality, Karndee has hosted several TV and radio programs such in national broadcasting network in Thailand.

She holds BEng in Industrial Engineering from Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology, Thammasat University, MS and PhD in Industrial Engineering from University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA.

Picture of Sunil Lalvani

Sunil Lalvani

British born Sunil Lalvani has worked for the past 25 years at Binatone, and electronics business with a spread across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

His geographic and industry experience has seen him develop an effective solution to the provision of reliable rural water to those that need it most in Africa.

In his role as Group CEO of Binatone, he has championed their CSR effort in this direction, and such has been the success and his passion that "Project MAJI" is now being spun off as an independent operation under Sunil's direct supervision.

Having witnessed the dire situation of many African villages and numerous failed attempts by other to address the water poverty issue, Project Maji has developed a solar powered technology that can reliably pump and filter ground water. SuniL's drive has seen a business model developed around this to ensure the plants are serviced and maintained regularly for the benefit of its users.

Passionate to see Project Maji achieve its goal, to serve 1m rural Africans with potable water by 2025, Sunil now spends 50% of his time on this new social venture.

Picture of Maggie Gorse

Maggie Gorse

Maggie Gorse is the Managing Director of Verlion Pte Ltd, Singapore, she is a specialist of New Business Models for innovation. Her research & consulting expertise is: Innnovative Value Creation for Stakeholders, Managing for Sustainable Stakeholder Value, New Business Models, Economic Transformation & the Post-Industrial Economy.

She works with top management of multi-nationals and start-ups in a wide range of industries on innovation projects, in Europe, USA, Africa and Asia with 30 years of practical consulting and training solutions. She has developed several conceptual business model designs to aid in effective business innovation, among others France Telecom, Groupama, EADS, Gemalto and start-ups.

Maggie keeps pace with intellectual developments in business as visiting professor in MBA programs around the world, notably ESSEC, Mannheim Business School, University of Geneva, Tongji University and SP Jain School of Management. She is 2014 Laureat “Academic Excellence Best Professor” of ESSEC Foundation for her contribution to innovative ideas in business.

She is regularly invited to speak at international conferences on economic transformation and new business models. She is a Fellow of the Mauritius Institute of Directors. Maggie received her MBA from Columbia University, New-York, majors Finance, International Business and Marketing, with Beta Gamma Sigma award.

Picture of Asif Ibrahim

Asif Ibrahim

Mr. Asif Ibrahim is the former President of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), the largest trade body of Bangladesh. He is currently the Chairman of Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), a Public Private Dialogue platform to expedite policy reforms to enable private sector led economic growth of Bangladesh. Mr Ibrahim is currently on the board of the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI). He received his formal education from the University of Delhi (India) and the University of North Texas (USA). Mr. Ibrahim is currently the Vice Chairman of Newage Group of Industries, a business house involved mainly in manufacturing and exporting ready-made garments, textiles and plastic products. He has previously been on the board of the France Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFB) and the Bangladesh Thai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BTCCI). He is also the former Chairman of the research cell of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Mr. Ibrahim was awarded the Commercially Important Person (CIP) status by the Ministry of Commerce of Bangladesh in the year 2007 for his contribution in national export.

Asif received his formal education at the University of Delhi (India) and the University of North Texas (USA).

OECD/ILO Special Presentation — Responsible Business in Global Supply Chains

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Nitij Pal

Nitij Pal is a principal of PLN Australia, an Australian-based law firm with affiliate offices in most Pacific jurisdictions.

Nitij’s expertise is to act as a one point contact for legal services involving multiple emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region focusing on the Pacific Island economies. Nitij’s experience includes corporate and commercial law, mergers and acquisitions, banking & finance and regulatory compliance. He has extensive expertise undertaking due diligence exercises for clients wishing to invest in or carry on business in the Pacific Islands, with a particular focus of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) countries. Nitij is an executive board member of the Australia-Fiji Business Council, and Vice-President of the Australian Pacific Islands Business Council.

Nitij often presents on Pacific related legal and commercial matters at business forums in the Asia-Pacific region, and particularly focuses on business law reform, costs of regulatory compliance and policies to reduce such costs, policy reform on state owned entity corporatisation and privatisations, foreign direct investment into the Pacific and general business and corporate law reform. Nitij undertook his secondary and tertiary education in New Zealand with degrees in law, economics and international relations. He is admitted as a solicitor to the High Court of New Zealand, as well as in Australia and Fiji.

Cristina Tébar Less

Cristina Tébar Less

Cristina Tébar Less is Head of the Responsible Business Conduct Unit of the OECD. She oversees work related to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the National Contact Points, the development of sectoral guidance for responsible supply chains, and outreach on responsible business conduct. She has held several positions at the OECD Legal, Environment and Financial Affairs Directorates and is the author and co-author of several publications in the areas of trade, investment and environment. She has a Master in Environmental Management from the University of New South Wales and a Diploma in Sustainability from the University of Sydney (Australia), as well as Law degrees from the Universities of Tübingen and Saarland (Germany) and Madrid (Spain). Prior to joining the OECD, she worked at the European Parliament (Luxembourg) and was an attorney at law in Madrid, specializing in international, environmental and commercial law.

Maurizio Bussi

Director, ILO DWT for East and South-East Asia and the Pacific

Plenary 4 — Sustainable Business in the Asia-Pacific Region

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Michael Greenslade

Michael Greenslade is the Trade Commissioner for Pacific Trade & Invest (PT & I) based in Auckland New Zealand. PT & I is the International Trade and Investment organisation of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat which itself is based in Suva Fiji.

Michael has recently spent had 12 years working in fields of Economic Development and Trade & Investment in the Pacific working for the New Zealand Governments Economic Development Agency New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE). During this time, together with his family, he spent 5 years living in Suva Fiji.

Michael’s previous background was Commercial with the Private Sector where he has worked in a hands on capacity in a range of business functions including Advisory , Governance, Strategy, General Management, Export Marketing and Supply Chain Management. He has had specific sector experience in Agriculture, Horticulture, Fisheries, Manufacturing and ICT.

Michael is a life member of the Fiji New Zealand Business Council and currently sits on the executive of 6 Auckland based Pacific Business Councils.

Michael has an Masters of Business Administration specialising in International Trade.

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Jens Hügel

Jens Hügel is Head of Sustainable Development and Goods Transport at the International Road Transport Union (IRU). He joined the IRU in 2001 as Head of Economic Affairs and later became Head of Economic Affairs, Road Safety and Intermodal Transport. He currently heads the Sustainable Development and Goods Transport section of the IRU and has done so since 2008.

After studying at the University of Groningen, Netherlands and Texas A&M University, College Station, United States, he graduated from the University of Frankfurt a.M., Germany, with a degree in Geography. Following postgraduate research he was employed by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ German Technical Cooperation) as Political Advisor.

Between 1998 and 2001 Mr Hügel worked as Legislative Assistant for the Czech Minister of Transport and a Member of the European Parliament with a focus on contributing to the work of the European Parliament Committee on Transport and the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Mr Hügel currently holds several Board and Representative positions and has an extensive portfolio of publications. In addition to his work with GIFT, Chandran continues to provide strategic management advice to business leaders.

Dr. Vachara Phanchet

Chairman Emeritus, the Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC)

Picture of Dr. Lee George Lam

Dr. Lee George Lam

Dr. Lee George LAM has over 30 years of international experience in general management, management consulting, corporate governance, direct investment, investment banking and fund management across the telecommunications/media/technology (TMT), consumer/healthcare, infrastructure/real estates, energy/resources and financial services sectors. Dr. Lam is Chairman - Indochina, Myanmar & Thailand, and Senior Adviser – Asia, of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, and formerly Chairman - Hong Kong, Chairman - Indochina, Myanmar & Thailand, and Senior Adviser - Asia, of Macquarie Capital – both are members of Macquarie Group of Companies with which he has been since early 2007. He serves on the board of a number of publicly-listed companies and investment funds in the Asia Pacific region. Also active in community service and international affairs, Dr. Lam is President of Hong Kong-ASEAN Economic Cooperation Foundation (HKAECF), Chairman of Monte Jade Science and Technology Association of Hong Kong, and a Vice President of the Hong Kong Real Property Federation.

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Eddie Game

Eddie Game is Lead Scientist for The Nature Conservancy’s Asia Pacific region, responsible for ensuring that the Conservancy remains a world leader in making science-based conservation decisions. Eddie’s work also focuses on how we measure and report on the impact of our work, and the role technology can play in helping do so.

Eddie has previously been the conservation planning R&D lead for The Nature Conservancy’s global science program and has worked on conservation projects in over 15 countries, helping to apply innovative methods and analyses to projects as diverse as community protected areas in Melanesia, grazing management in northern Kenya, and catchment restoration in Colombia.

He has published more than 30 papers on aspects of conservation science including climate change adaptation, conservation planning, efficient monitoring, return on investment, risk analysis, marine protected areas, coral reef resilience, connectivity, dynamic decision making, and evolution. For his work on how climate change data can be used in decision making he was the recipient of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s inaugural prize for innovative concepts to conserve the reef in the face of climate change. Eddie is also the author of the manual for the world’s most widely used conservation planning software, Marxan.

Eddie is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Conservation Letters, a rare honour for an NGO scientist. Eddie received his PhD in marine conservation and decision science from the University of Queensland, and holds an adjunct faculty position there.