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Advisory Board



I Gede Ngurah Swajaya is a senior Government official in the Republic of Indonesia, and he has held several prestigious and important roles during his long and illustrious career for the Government of Indonesia.


Bapak Ngurah has been involved in extensive interaction with the key policy makers and people of ASEAN countries and he will enter the history books as the first ever Indonesian Ambassador to ASEAN in 2010. Apart from this, he has held many key roles including Director for ASEAN Political Security Cooperation and Chairperson of the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee.


Bapak Ngurah was the Ambassador Extraordinary to the Republic of Singapore from 2016 till 2020, and has recently moved back to Indonesia to take up the role of Director General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he is responsible for relationships between Indonesia, the Americas and Europe.


Bapak Ngurah hails from Bali, the delightful and magical Island of the Gods, and we hope we can persuade him to join us for a weekend retreat for all customers and management of ASEAN Business Partners on his home island one day.



Jim (the name that James is popularly known by) is the founder of CastleAsia, a firm which runs the largest and most prestigious CEO forum in Indonesia. CastleAsia is one of the most trusted sources for business and economic news on Indonesia.


Jim is originally from Michigan, USA. He found his way into Indonesia in 1980, and has made it his base and home for the last 40 years. Jim has been one of the most trusted advisors in South East Asia during this period. He has advised in the establishment of many foreign investment projects and acted as a consultant to many of the world’s largest corporations and Indonesia’s largest business groups. In addition to his experience with private sector clients, Jim has also been a consultant to numerous projects for governments and international agencies including the World Bank, IFC, ADB, USAID and the Indonesian government.


As an additional feather in his cap, Jim was the only foreigner appointed by the Minister of Finance to serve on Indonesia’s National Tax Law Review Committee in 2005.



Noor is one of the most respected lawyers in Southeast Asia and was Managing Partner at Hogan Lovell’s Indonesian office (DNFP Law Offices) from 2016-2019. Noor’s corporate and transactional practice in Indonesia includes representing international and Indonesian businesses in their Indonesian transactions as well as having set up and managed the Ashurst LLP and Hogan Lovells’ associated practices in Jakarta advising on infrastructure development, regulatory matters, complex transactional structuring and dispute resolution management.


In addition to founding the Indonesian Leadership Forum and the Love Your Children Foundation, Noor has served as Chair of the Singapore Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia, the Women Business Lawyers Committee, Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Jakarta International School Advisory Council.


Noor is deeply committed to ASEAN and to good causes, continues to treat each day as a new earning opportunity and has a treasure trove of stories on ASEAN which one day will surely spawn many best-sellers!



With a career spanning 25 years in Finance, Energy and Infrastructure, Alverno Soenardji is among the most respected senior executives in Indonesia. He is both the CEO of PT Rezeki Perkasa Sejahtera Lestari – one of the very few biomass fueled renewable energy power plants in Indonesia– and the CFO of PT Energi Infranusantara – a special purpose company under Nusantara Infrastructure with the express purpose of investing in Indonesia’s growing energy sector.


Alverno is also serving as the Commissioner of four other organizations, namely, PT Impola Meka Energi, PT Komet Infra Nusantara, PT Dharmanusa Tritunggal, and PT Quattro International.


Alverno holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Universitas Trisakti and an MBA from Oklahoma City University.


Alverno is an avid golfer with a single digit handicap and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the game.



Over the course of his illustrious 30-year career, Carlos has held multiple senior management positions in the ASEAN region, and he has thus amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience on what it takes to succeed here.


Carlos has spent most of his career with Spanish banking giant BBVA, where he currently serves as Country Head for Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Prior to this he was Executive Director and Head of Institutional Relationships for Asia, and Head of Southeast Asia. Carlos has played an instrumental role in strengthening BBVA’s presence in the ASEAN market, and he has been responsible for successfully developing and establishing its Corporate & Investment Banking business strategy in the region’s largest economies.


Carlos’ hobbies include photography and he has a repertoire of pictures of beautiful buildings and sceneries all across the world.


He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law from Universidad de Alcalá, and an MBA from IE Business School.



Based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Kula has over 30 years of experience in financial services and FMCG. He is a veteran of the payments industry and successfully spearheaded changes and growth in the network business through solid partnerships with leading banks, financial institutions, merchants, airlines, and telcos.


Kula spent over 20 years with American Express. As Executive Vice President, Head of Global Network Services (GNS) in Japan, Asia Pacific & Australia (JAPA), Kula was instrumental in increasing the network business footprint in the region, spanning 30+ countries with 40+ partnerships. He
developed and led winning strategies to grow the network business in the region, including market entry into China and the transformational growth initiatives for Japan, Korea, and Australia. Under Kula’s leadership, GNS JAPA was one of the fastest growing business units in American Express, and the largest charge-volume contributor to the network business worldwide. GNS JAPA was also a key growth driver that helped American Express increase its market share in Asia.


Prior to American Express, Kula spent several years in the FMCG sector with Nestle in a marketing and sales capacity.


Kula has an MBA from London Business School.



Alan Beattie has an extensive international career in banking with HSBC over some 30 years; having worked in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Most recently Alan was the Global Head of Private Wealth in HSBC’s Private Bank for 3 years, based in Hong Kong. Prior to that he was Regional Head of Commercial Banking, Latin America and the Deputy CEO, Europe.


Additionally, whilst taking a break from banking in 2014 to 2017, Alan worked in Australia working in executive and advisory roles in various sectors of the financial markets, ranging from venture capital to fintech, and a stock market listing.


Having been born and raised in Singapore, Alan is passionate about the opportunity in ASEAN, and is keen to provide whatever support and leadership he can to allow both the region and the businesses there to succeed. Societal benefit is a key component of what Alan likes to bring to business.


His hobbies include many sports; anything to do with wine, travel, photography (and a combination of all three!); and his two sons.


Alan holds Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Edinburgh, a Master’s Degree in International Banking & Finance from Heriot-Watt University, and has carried out further executive education at INSEAD.



Vikram Nehru is currently Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. His academic interests focus on development economics, growth, poverty reduction, debt sustainability, governance, and the performance and prospects of East Asia. He teaches graduate-level courses on the economic, political, and strategic issues confronting Asia, particularly Southeast Asia.


From 2011 to 2016, Nehru was the Chair in Southeast Asian Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he wrote extensively on contemporary economic, political, social, and foreign policy developments in the ten countries of Southeast Asia. Prior to that, Nehru served in the World Bank, including in a number of senior management positions. His last position there was chief economist and director for poverty reduction, economic management, and private and financial sector development for East Asia and the Pacific. In this capacity, he advised governments on economic and governance issues, including macroeconomic management, public sector and public financial management, financial and private sector development, and poverty reduction.


Nehru’s articles have appeared in numerous journals, he has contributed to several books, and has written many op-eds and opinion pieces for leading newspapers, journals, and think-tanks.



Wai Yee has some 25 years of experience working in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. During her career with the Hong Kong Special Administration Region Government, she had worked as a District Officer in Sha Tin and as a Deputy Director of Administration at the Chief Secretary for Administration’s Office. Her last posting before retiring from the Government was as the Director-General of the newly established Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Jakarta, Indonesia. The office covered three other ASEAN countries, namely Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.


She is currently serving as the Secretary-General of the Council of the Hong Kong Laureate Forum.


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