1 November 2016
It is an honour and a privilege today to commence as Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan.
Melanie Brock, our outgoing Chair, deserves an enormous thank you from all of us. The ANZCCJ has flourished under Melanie’s leadership and guidance. Under her watch we launched many important initiatives including the Japanese SME Support Program and the Tohoku Reconstruction Program. Over the past six years we also experienced a marked increase in engagement with the Japanese business community and Japanese membership.
We are very pleased that Melanie has agreed to continue to support the ANZCCJ as Chair Emeritus, a role in which she will continue to provide advice based on her deep experience.
I joined the ANZCCJ Executive Council in 2010 and have served as Vice Chair for five of the last six years. As the head of an Australian business operating in Japan, it became clear to me that people and organisations on both sides can continue to do more to fully utilise the great opportunities that exist to grow businesses and deepen relationships. Whether it is the challenge of large New Zealand or Australian firms not understanding the depth of pipeline here or Japanese organisations facing the challenges of navigating the sea of opportunities in Australia and New Zealand, it's hard to watch potential not being fully utilised. With a love for our countries, whatever contribution I could make to improve the situation was worth pursuing and a role as an EC member helped facilitate that.
As for top priorities over the next few years, market and political conditions will allow the Chamber to play a stronger role in increasing opportunities for Australian and New Zealand business to grow market presence in Japan. In addition, with Japanese capital increasingly looking off shore, the Chamber can help build bridges that better enable Japanese investment into our home countries and jointly into third markets. We will keep you posted on our progress and would love to hear your views.
We are fortunate to have two strong Vice Chairs in Ed Cole and Catherine O’Connell and Martin Spann as Treasurer. I am also very fortunate to have inherited an energetic, diverse and impressive Executive Council that is passionate about giving back to the business community in Japan.
We look forward to maintaining and building upon the success our Chamber has achieved over the past several years.