About us

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Australia House, London, 2017

Australia-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce

Who we are

The Australia-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce is the independent UK-based membership organisation connecting the business community and professionals with interests in both Australia and the United Kingdom.

With a diverse membership and network as well as trusted partnerships across the Australian and British Governments, we are the platform for industry to access and influence Australian-UK business intelligence, audiences and trade opportunities.

By delivering a range of events, membership services and strategic initiatives we connect our members and partners to decision-makers, smart ideas and fresh opportunities.

 

Australia and the United Kingdom

Australia is the 12th largest economy in the world with more than 26 years of uninterrupted economic growth. As the fifth largest economy in the world, the UK is one of Australia’s most significant economic and trade partners. The UK is Australia’s second largest two-way services partner with total two-way trade worth around A$21.1 billion or £12.79 billion. Today there are more than 1,500 Australian companies that are active in the UK across a range of sectors including financial and professional services, technology, natural resources and travel services.

Our Patron

The Hon Alexander Downer AC

The Hon Alexander Downer AC was appointed Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom in March 2014. Mr Downer has had a long and distinguished political career in Australia, and was until recently the United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus. Mr Downer was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2013 and was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001.

Our Chairman

Dick Porter

Dick Porter, as well as being the Chairman of the Chamber and a co-founder of STA Travel, is also the Director, Trustee, and Member of several organisations including the Australia Day Foundation, Global Implementation Group at University College London and the University of Western Australia UK Friends.

Our CEO

Catherine Woo

Catherine joined the Chamber as CEO in late 2016, bringing with her almost a decade of experience in international trade. Catherine has previously held leadership roles working with multinational companies to support their global expansion as well as building strategic international partnerships between government and industry. Prior to joining the Chamber, Catherine held the role of Investment Director for the Victorian Government of Australia’s London office where she led multi-sectoral trade and investment activities across the UK, Europe and Israel. Catherine holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne.

Our Board

Philip Aiken AM

Philip Aiken is Chairman of Balfour Beatty and Aveva and a Non-Executive Director of Newcrest Mining. He was also the Chairman of the Chamber from 2006 to 2013. From 1997-2006 Philip was President Energy Group and President Petroleum of BHP Billiton and Managing Director Gases Europe and South Pacific for BOC.

John Burton OBE

John Burton, OBE, is Head of Development at Westfield and is responsible for all developments in the UK and Europe. John led Westfield’s Stratford City project, which represented the company’s single biggest investment in a project, and has previously worked in the airport business, property industry and Government.

Sir Lynton Crosby

Sir Lynton Crosby is a campaign manager and strategist, and Co-Founder of the C|T group. In 1998 and 2001, Lynton successfully managed the campaign for Australian Prime Minister John Howard and in 2008 and 2012 he was Campaign Director for Boris Johnson, Lord Mayor. In the 2015 UK General Election, Lynton was the Campaign Director for the Conservative Party in its historic victory.

Bronwyn Curtis OBE

Bronwyn Curtis OBE is the Chairman of the JP Morgan Asian Investment Trust PLC and a Non-Executive Director at Scottish American Investment Co PLC and Mercator Media Ltd. Bronwyn’s previous roles have included Head of European Broadcasting at Bloomberg LP and Chief Economist for Nomura International.

Chris Hickey

Chris Hickey is the CEO of the UK, Middle East and African businesses for Robert Walters plc. Chris is responsible for the Group’s UKMEA businesses including, but not limited to financial services, commerce accountancy, IT, HR divisions. Previously, Chris worked as a solicitor in Australia, the UK and Switzerland with Lehman Brothers.

Tom Homer

Tom Homer is Telstra’s Head of EMEA for Global Enterprise & Services, a $AU5.5 billion revenue business unit operating as a global scale, industry-based telecommunications services and solutions business. Tom is also the executive sponsor Telstra’s customer advocacy program and helped Telstra achieve its best ever Net Promoter Score result in 2016.

Michael Wallin

Michael is a Corporate partner in Minter Ellison's London office. Michael specialises in advising Australia businesses investing in the UK and wider Europe and European businesses investing in Australia. He advises on a wide range of corporate matters, focusing particularly on cross border mergers, acquisitions and disposals, private equity investments, joint ventures and venture capital work.

Damian Walsh

Damian is a Management Consultant and Company Director with more than thirty five years international experience. He is a Partner at Heidrick & Struggles, the leading global executive search and leadership consulting firm. Damian is also a non-executive director of Arqiva Group Limited, a major UK infrastructure company.

David Watson

David Watson is the Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner UK and Ireland for the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, London (Austrade). A lawyer by training, David was previously a partner at Minter Ellison and more recently a senior executive at Mars, Inc. where he held regional roles in London, Dubai and Washington DC.

Jill Watts

Jill Watts is the Group CEO for BMI Healthcare. She has over 35 years’ experience in the healthcare industry and has held a number of senior executive roles in Australia and the UK. Prior to her appointment at BMI Jill was the Chief Executive Officer of Ramsay Health Care UK for over six years.

Jeffrey Young

Jeffrey is the founder of Allegra Strategies, a management consultancy focusing on the food and leisure sector. Jeffrey is also the founder of UK Coffee Week and the London and New York Coffee Festivals, Chairman of the Allegra foundation and author/editor of 20 books.

The team at the Australia-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce. From left to right; Kirsty Whitford, Catherine Woo, Fern Wells, Kylie Shore-Oliver

Our team

Catherine Woo
CEO

Catherine joined the Chamber as CEO in late 2016, bringing with her almost a decade of experience in international trade. Catherine has previously held leadership roles working with multinational companies to support their global expansion as well as building strategic international partnerships between government and industry.

Prior to joining the Chamber, Catherine held the role of Investment Director for the Victorian Government of Australia’s London office where she led multi-sectoral trade and investment activities across the UK, Europe and Israel. Catherine holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne.

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Fern Wells
Events Executive

Fern Wells is the Events Executive with the Chamber. In her role, Fern works with our established preferred partners and suppliers to deliver high quality and engaging events for our members and guests. She also forges new partnerships with venues, suppliers and organisations.

Fern is originally from Cheshire in the North-West of England, has a background in international business, extensive experience in the travel industry and is fluent in French. Fern can often be found at events carrying a clipboard and well-brewed cup of tea, and after several trips to Australia is a lover of the dramatic and varied landscape.

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Kirsty Whitford
Marketing & Member Relations Manager

As the Marketing & Member Relations Manager of the Chamber, Kirsty is responsible for looking after our members and ensuring our events are well publicised and attended. Kirsty has a Master of Management (Marketing) and a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications), and has honed her skills with digital start-ups and some of Australia’s largest advertising accounts.

Kirsty is from Melbourne, Australia and has a keen passion for travelling. She is looking forward to exploring the United Kingdom and visiting as many European cities as possible. With a love of both food and old architecture, a castle and vineyard tour is in her future.

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Kylie Shore-Oliver
Operations & Administration Executive

As the Australia-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce Operations & Admin Executive, Kylie Shore-Oliver is responsible for the smooth day-to- day running of the Chamber. Kylie is responsible for the
accounts and office management as well as numerous other tasks. Kylie has a background in international relations and has previous experience in business development and luxury retail.

Despite her very Australian name, Kylie is originally from Nottingham in the East Midlands and recently spent two years in Melbourne where she developed a love of the Australian brunch culture and the great outdoors.

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