Structure and Administration

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 2019 Board of Directors.

Board of Directors 2019

Rufus Pinto

President, AustCham Lao

Rufus is the CEO of ANZ Laos and has the overall responsibility for the bank’s franchise in Laos. Rufus considers his interest academic; having completed Bachelors of Commerce; MBA; a post graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and currently in his last leg of finishing his CPA. In this opportunity with the Chamber, Rufus believes he will drive the business interests of members within the association and look to ways of supporting the members get connected across the network of Austcham in neighboring countries. Rufus is keen on using his knowledge and experience, having operated in a few countries to suggest new business opportunities and policy support to the Government of Laos.

Kristy Newby

Vice President, AustCham Lao

Kristy is Managing Director of DFDL Lao PDR and is the Head of the Regional Mining Division for the firm. She has more than 12 years’ experience practicing as a solicitor in Australia, the Lao PDR and Vietnam. In the Lao PDR, Kristy has substantial experience advising potential investors and existing operators in a variety of sectors on corporate and commercial matters, mergers and acquisitions and project financing. Kristy is recognized in Laos as a “Leading Individual” in Legal 500 (Asia Pacific) and a “Market-Leading Lawyer” in AsiaLaw Profiles.

Viboon Sithimolada

Treasurer, AustCham Lao

Viboon Sithimolada is the CEO of XangLao Engineering, which provides engineering, construction and consultancy services in Laos. Viboon is a thought leader with extensive industry experience, esp., in mining and energy sectors. He is also an entrepreneur and investor in startup ventures. He received his master’s degree in Engineering (major in Energy) from University of Illinois, the USA, and bachelor of engineering (Honors 1st Class) from RMIT, Australia. Viboon shares the chamber’s vision in promoting quality business networks based on sound Australian business values for the benefit of the members and Laos.

Alistair Robin Brown

Director, AustCham Lao

As MD of Lao Tobacco Ltd. for seven years, I managed a successful and profitable Lao joint venture company, 47% owned by the Lao government, 44% Imperial Brands plc (a UK based FTSE 100 company) and 9% S3T, our local partner.  I had strong involvement in Lao public organisations representing the 750 strong Lao workforce in LTL, meeting regularly with party organisation and Lao labour union representatives. LTL was a member of the Lao Chamber of Commerce, Austcham and the European Chamber of Commerce & Industry Laos (ECCIL) since its formation and I was an active member of the ECCIL board of directors, working to promote foreign direct investment (FDI) into Laos. I now support the commercial capability development of Lao entities and their people through a mix of strategic leadership, mentoring, training and consulting projects.

Mette Boatman

Director, AustCham Lao

Mette is Acting Managing Director for Geo-Sys (Lao) Co., Ltd, a social and environmental consulting company that puts a commitment to excellence and the highest quality outputs only second to a focus on social inclusion and empowerment of vulnerable and marginalised groups. Mette has lived and worked in Laos since 2003, during which time she has worked with a wide range of clients including the hydropower, mining, energy, sanitation and health sectors for private developers, multi-lateral institutions, the Government of Lao PDR and various INGOS. These wide-ranging experiences give Mette unique insights into many of the professional, business, and development challenges AustCham members face. Her current responsibilities at Geo-Sys focus on business development, methodological quality control and support to all of her study teams.

Shaun Massey

Director, AustCham Lao

Shaun is the Managing Director of Phu Bia Mining and leading Copper and Gold producer in South East Asia with two operating assets in Laos. Shaun is also responsible for overseeing the Support Services and External Affairs for the Company’s Lao Operations, and other business activities in Laos. This involves overseeing the safety, security, human resources, site services, government relations, and risk and sustainability functions for the company. Shaun has more than 16 years’ experience working in the mining industry predominantly in Australia and Southeast Asia. Prior to joining Phu Bia Mining, Shaun held several positions with a number of mining, oil and gas companies in Africa.

Kaz Patafta

Director, AustCham Lao

Kaz is currently Special Counsel at Arion Legal, Honorary Legal Advisor to the British Embassy in Laos and is an Australian trained legal adviser and registered lawyer under the Ministry of Justice Lao PDR. Kaz advises in relation to energy and infrastructure projects, mergers and acquisitions, project finance, capital market transactions and corporate law. Kaz has spent many years in Laos and has been an adviser to the Government of Lao PDR and acted for a number of international and domestic clients across various industries. Kaz is an ISO 9001:2015 Certified Internal Auditor. He holds a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) (Honours) from Deakin University.

Nalongded Luanglath

Director, AustCham Lao

Nalongded is the Managing Director of Muanson Company Limited, one of the experienced leaders in the Tyre and Automotive industry in Lao PDR since 1991. Nalongded was an Australia Award alumnus who graduated with a Bachelor of Business(Honours)(First Class) from Queensland University of Technology. His research and journal publication focus on gender diversity in Top Management Teams and on Boards of Directors, particularly of those publicly listed firms. Nalongded is passionate in building sustainable and inclusive businesses in Lao PDR by enhancing Lao human capital.


Xoumaitri Panyanouvong 

Director, AustCham Lao

Xoumaitri is Manager and Government Liaison of Dominion (Lao), she has almost 10 years of experience in management works on exploration mining project in Lao PDR and Cambodia plus experience on environmental and social impact assessment and management, gender, community development, grievance procedure in practicing in Lao PDR, China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. She has strong working performance on liaising with both government and private sectors at all levels such as central, district and village. Moreover, she gained a Master Degree on with construction contract, Law and regulation, bidding process from Chulalongkone University of Thailand and had rich experience working with FIDIC, WB and ADB guidelines.


Sophie Depachtere

Executive Director, Austcham Lao

As Executive Director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Laos, Sophie liaises with Australian and international business, government and non-government organizations, to help AustCham’s member companies operate successfully in Laos. AustCham develops and sustains key partnerships, provides business development services, represents members to government and key stakeholders and provides essential networking opportunities to its members.


Lisa Mortimer

Representative the Australian Embassy

Lisa manages the Economic and Trade team at the Australian Embassy in Vientiane, which includes supporting Australian commercial interests in Laos, growing the Australia-Lao trade and investment relationship, managing Australia’s aid investments in trade and private sector development and economic analysis.  Lisa is a qualified legal practitioner with experience in commercial, international and public law. She brings to the AustCham Board over 10 years experience working in the private, government and not-for-profit sectors in Australia, Laos and Timor-Leste. Lisa looks forward to working with AustCham to promote Australian business in Laos and strengthen the Lao business environment.


The Lao People’s Democratic Republic

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

Area: 236,800 sq km

Population: 6,477,211 (July 2011 est.)

GDP: US$ 7.9 billion (2011 est.)

Local Currency: Lao Kip



Laos is a least developed country that has a GDP PPP in of approximately $17.44 billion USD and a population of approximately 6.44 million people (2011). The makeup of the economy consists mainly of agriculture which is primarily rice cultivation that contributes to 30% of GDP and 75% of total employment. Other prominent sectors include tourism, mining and hydroelectric power and their associated service industries. Australian and New Zealand based companies play a significant role in these areas providing both financial and intellectual capital.

As a least developed country Laos enjoys a range of tariff reductions for export into Australia, New Zealand and many other more developed economic regions which provides a number of opportunities for investment and business development. As a member of the ASEAN community Laos has signed up to the ASEAN Free Trade Area agreement (AFTA) which will provide a platform for economic cooperation and improvement in the area based on common goals for growth and prosperity. A number of other key entities around the world are also forming links with the ASEAN group to encourage economic links and reduced barriers to business development; these include Australia and New Zealand, China, South Korea, The European Union, India and others.

See also: https://dfat.gov.au/trade/resources/Documents/laos.pdf