Structure and Administration

2021 Board of Directors

We are an inclusive chamber with our Board of Directors representing the diversity of our membership base. We are pleased to introduce you to our 2021 Board of Directors.

Board of Directors 2021

Alistair BROWN

AustCham, President

Alistair, an Australian business leader who came to Laos in 2010 as MD of Lao Tobacco Ltd. (LTL), a successful and profitable Lao joint venture company, 47% owned by the Lao government. Alistair was involved in consulting with Lao public organisations representing the 750 strong Lao workforce in LTL, meeting regularly with party organisation and Lao labor union representatives. He now supports the commercial capability development of Lao entities and their people through a mix of strategic leadership, mentoring, training and consulting projects.


AustCham Lao, Vice President

Scott is an Australian citizen and Country Director with overall responsibility for the Linfox operations in Laos.
Scott has 25 years’ experience in senior management roles in the transport and logistics industry, with a track record for building safety-first, cost efficient operations in unique and challenging markets across the Asia Pacific.

Scott has been working in Laos since 2008 and prior to joining Linfox he worked with PanAust to establish and lead the Phu Bia Mining logistics operations in Laos. Previously, Scott spent 5 years with Porgera Gold Mine in Papua New G uinea where he significantly improved the reliability, efficiency and safety performance of the operation. Scott has held senior management position in the Transport and Logistics sector and is looking forward to working with the chamber to help develop the Laos business environment.


AustCham Lao, Treasurer

Marion is an experienced Accountant and currently Finance Manager at Phu Bia Mining Limited. She moved to Lao PDR after finishing her master’s degree in International Business over 15 years ago and has been working in Vientiane since then. She first joined an Audit practice where she worked for 7 years with a large number of Local and Foreign Businesses, then joined Phu Bia Mining where she has been leading Finance functions for the past 8 years. Marion has been closely involved with Tax Authorities, Compliance with Financial Reporting, Banking systems and facilities, whilst also working closely with the operational sides of the business. This is her first year joining the Chamber and is looking forward to be working with the Chambers Members and the Business Community on key aspects of doing business in Lao PDR and sharing her experience working with Phu Bia Mining and its key local and international business partners.


AustCham Lao Board of Directors

Patria Puyat is the General Manager of Crowne Plaza Vientiane, an international five-star hotel in Vientiane and part of the InterContinental Hotels Group.

Before joining Crowne Plaza Vientiane in August 2019, Patria Puyat was previously with IHG’s flagship properties in Dubai which includes InterContinental Dubai Festival City, Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City, an Event Centre and Festival Arena before being appointed as the General Manager for the brand defining Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City. 

Patria got her Hotel Management degree from Les Roches Global Hospitality Education in Bluche, Switzerland and has worked extensively in the hotel industry for over 20 years in areas from sales and marketing, food and beverages, conferences and events, and hotel management.

Since joining Crowne Plaza Vientiane, her leadership continued to propel and strengthen the hotel position in Vientiane and has led the hotel to achieve numerous global awards.


AustCham Lao Board of Directors

Results-driven, commercially aware Senior Director with over 25 years’ strategic and functional leadership experience, having directed key projects within large financial services organisations including: Virgin One Account, Santander, UK General Insurance Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Life Bank, Legal and General and General Accident. 

Significant B2B sales and partnership expertise, coupled with a proven track record of delivering revenue, business growth, quality and compliance through strong relationship management, networking and exceptional client focus. 

He moved to Laos Jan 2020, currently CEO of Phongsavanh Insurance.


AustCham Lao Board of Directors

Robin is a corporate affairs, communications, reputation, and crisis management professional. He has an international leadership focus, based on 10 years at LXML and 20 years in Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Department of Defence.

Robin has worked in Lao PDR for over thirty years in various business, government, and project development roles.

Stephen (Steve) Frederick GIMPEL

AustCham Lao Board of Directors

Steve is an Australian citizen with over 30 years of government and private enterprise experience. Building upon a 10 year apprenticeship in Australian law enforcement, Steve has successfully created, owned and operated businesses in several challenging environments, predominately in the South Pacific, Africa and South East Asia.
A resident of the Lao PDR for over 9 years, Steve is the Group Risk Manager for PanAust Ltd (Phu Bia Mining), a role that requires a measured balance between tactical and strategic responsibilities and objectives. As a first time nominee to the board, he is determined to be an advocate for Australian and Lao businesses to connect with each other, to help navigate potentially unfamiliar territory, and provide the support for businesses to succeed.


AustCham Lao Board of Directors

Nanthala Salichanh (Bee) has been with ANZ Laos for 14 years, working in a number of roles across Business and Project Management, Marketing, Transaction Banking and Markets. 

She has worked with Treasury and Markets Laos since 2014, and has been the Head of Markets, Laos since 2017. During this period, Bee has made significant contributions to establishing ANZ Laos as a well-recognised franchise by all stakeholders and was recently appointed as Head of Markets, Laos and Myanmar. 

Bee was also board direct of Austcham in 2020 and board advisor in 2021


AustCham Lao Board of Directors

Luke is an Australian forester and currently the Forestry Manager at Burapha-Agroforestry in Lao PDR. Luke has 11 years’ experience in the sustainable plantation forestry sector in Australia and Lao PDR.  In Laos, Luke has considerable experience in operations management, leadership, project coordination, contractor engagement, external collaboration both domestically and internationally and working with a range of external stakeholders ranging from local communities and the public sector through to international investors. Luke is looking forward to support members, developing the Lao-Australian business relationship and strengthening the Lao business environment.

Hannah WURF

AustCham Lao Adviser

Hannah is Second Secretary at the Australian Embassy in Lao PDR, responsible for the economic and trade portfolio. Prior to her posting to Laos, she worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for four years, predominately on ASEAN and Southeast Asia. Prior to her work in government, Hannah worked in the International Economy Program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia. She has a Master of Science in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics. She lives in Vientiane and is trying her best to learn to speak Lao.


Executive Director, Austcham Lao

David Ormsby is a tourism and communications expert, with a strong focus on risk management in adventure and eco tourism. In his career in Laos David has worked as the Head of Risk Management for Green Discovery and the Head of Content Creation for Discover Laos Today. In his time in Laos David has forged strong connections across a range of industries and sectors. He also has an extensive history in outdoor education, having led expeditions across Australia and the Asia-Pacific Region.

David is a proud Australian with strong connections to the Australian bush and is passionate about the outdoors, especially canoeing. He has lived in Laos with his Australian partner Tamalee Roberts for almost five years. Together they have travelled extensively throughout Laos visiting almost every province, amassing a large collection of weavings and handicrafts.

AustCham Lao is a pro-bono business community. If you have an area of expertise and would like to collaborate with us, please contact our Executive Director at executivedirector@austchamlao.org

Location: Southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam.

Area: 236,800 sq km

Population: 7.1 million (in 2018.)

GDP: US$ 18.1 billion (in 2018)

Local Currency: Lao Kip




Australian businesses have contributed to Laos’ economic development over many years, including in energy and resources, transport and logistics, and services sectors. An agreement on the promotion and protection of investment between Australia and Laos has been in place since 1995.

Two-way trade in goods and services was worth $129 million in 2018-19. Australia exported $29 million in goods and $39 million in services to Laos in this period. Major Australian goods exports include pumps for liquids and pump parts; specialised machinery and associated parts; civil engineering equipment and associated parts; and taps and valves. Imports from Laos in 2018-19 were worth $61 million ($24 million worth of goods and $37 million worth of services). Major goods imports include telecommunications equipment and parts; footwear; and jewellery.

Australia and Laos are parties to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), which entered into force on 1 January 2010 in Australia and 1 January 2011 in Laos. Australia and Laos are also negotiating parties to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce in Laos (AustCham Lao) was established in 2005 – the first international chamber of commerce in the country.

Since 2003 Australia has provided duty-free and quota-free access for Lao goods exported to Australia. Australia continues to support reforms that improve the business environment in Laos, particularly through our development assistance program.

see also: https://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/laos/Pages/laos