People Watch: August / September 2011

Greater China is saying farewell to two longstanding members of the Australian community with the departure of Austrade’s Laurie Smith and AustCham Hong Kong’s Deb Biber.

After six year’s in Shanghai as Austrade’s North East Asia head, Laurie Smith is returning to Sydney. Says Laurie of the last six years: “I have really enjoyed this role with Austrade, leading a team that works to assist Australian companies in North East Asia and, more recently, absorbing responsibility at a federal government level for promoting Australia as an investment destination and a provider of quality education and training services. Austrade has a great team here and I will miss working in close proximity with them a lot.”

His relocation to Sydney, where he will manage Austrade’s international network, follows Austrade’s recently announced review and consequent restructuring of operations. Laurie has lived and worked in China intermittently over the last 30 years, since he first arrived to study Chinese and teach English.

“[China] remains a challenging and exciting, place. Mei (my wife) and I feel lucky to have been here in Shanghai for six amazing years of change.”

After 17 years with AustCham Hong Kong and Macau, Deborah Biber has resigned as the organisation’s Chief Executive. Debbie has been an integral part of the AustCham organisation, starting her association with the chamber in 1993 as an active member and committee participant, before becoming a Director on the AustCham Board in 1997. She was a Director for five years before being appointed to the role of Chief Executive in 2003.

During Debbie’s tenure, the Chamber has grown remarkably to become the 2nd largest international Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, with over 1,100 members and is also one of the largest Australian Chambers of Commerce internationally. She will be best remembered for the establishment of the annual Australia China Business Awards which recognize the successes of Australian companies working in greater China.

Joanna Correa has recently been appointed as the Head of Marketing at International SOS China, based in Beijing. Joanna is responsible for the strategic market development and promotion of International SOS as they expand their operations and customer base in China and assisting Chinese companies’ operations overseas. Joanna joins SOS after seven years working for Shell in Australia and China in a variety of Marketing Strategy and Marketing Manager roles and is originally from Melbourne.


joy_wang_whichproperty_thumbJoy Wang
has joined Which Property’s Shanghai office as the new Sales & Marketing Director, China. Joy previously worked in for Which Property’s Shanghai office for four years, and over the past 18 months has been busy completing her Masters of Marketing and working part-time for Which Property in Australia.


Michael Dalic is the Australia Alumni Association’s new Director of Communications and Development in Beijing. Michael is from Melbourne and has a Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) from RMIT University. Michael has previously lived and worked in Harbin and Beijing in various roles. He is also the current treasurer of the Australia China Youth Association Beijing Chapter.

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Danny Armstrong has been appointed the National Australia Bank’s China General Manager and China Banking & Country Head after the bank recently established its office in Shanghai. Danny has moved to Shanghai with his family from Ho Chi Minh City where he was the Country Head Vietnam for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for the last four and a half years.

KPMG has appointed Michael Andrew as its Global Chairman as the first to hold the role from the Asia-Pacific region, where he will be based out of Hong Kong. Michael succeeds Timothy Flynn, who announced his retirement in after 32 years with KPMG. Michael is currently Chairman of KPMG Asia Pacific and also of KPMG Australia. He has had broad experience in emerging markets, both in Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific, and has been a key driver of the Australian firm’s robust growth. In recent times, he has been one of the architects of KPMG’s global strategy. Michael is a graduate of Melbourne University where he completed a combined Law and Commerce Degree; he is a qualified Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

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Australian logistics and freight business, Transtar International Freight has officially opened its Shanghai office – one of three new Mainland China branches, including Shenzhen and Ningbo, to open in recent months after the wholly Australian-owned company made the decision to expand its Asian regional operations in 2008 when it opened its Asian head office in Hong Kong. “Shanghai is critical to us as not only is it the catchment for the cargoes moving along the Yangtze, and therefore our major load port, but it is also the site of our data centre for Australia and New Zealand,” said Transtar’s Hong Kong-based Director and Asia CEO, Annie Meyer.

Alan Bradford is the new Business Development, Central and East Asia for Leica Geosystems – a global provider of Mining Automation systems. Alan has extensive experience in the East Asian mining market over a number of years and has held many senior level relationships. Most recently Alan was General Manager for China Operations at Groundprobe and in this role he introduced a radar based, slope stability monitoring system to the Chinese market. Alan will be based in Beijing operating out of the Beijing LGS Office. 

* If your company or organisation has any HR related news or you know of people on the move, send details to sophiel@chinaconnections.com.au

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