INSTITUTE of Public Accountants (IPA) chief executive officer, Andrew Conway has been appointed to the Professional Accountancy Organisation Development Committee (PAODC) of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

“On behalf of the IPA Board of Directors, I would like to congratulate Andrew on this important appointment,” IPA president, Damien Moore said.

“Andrew is the ideal appointment which recognises his commitment to the profession that has included the chairing of the PAODC of the Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) over the past few years working closely to build the capacity of the profession. 

“The IPA is very committed to IFAC’s objectives and more so, the development of the profession globally.  This appointment further demonstrates the IPA’s leadership position in the global profession.

“The IPA is very proud of Andrew’s achievements and his contribution to global leadership and governance within the profession,” Mr Moore said.



By Ellen Boonstra, Asia correspondent >>

ANDREW BIGGS is arguably the most famous foreigner in Thailand today.

Over the last 25 years, the Australian has hosted national TV and radio shows in Thai and English. His books have been bestsellers and he has a whopping 2.5 million followers on Twitter.

For a former journalist from Queensland that’s an impressive array of achievements. 

Back in the 1980s, he had the chance to go to England to work for another Rupert Murdoch-stable newspaper. Thai Airways had the cheapest flights then, but the catch – and the letdown for him – was the mandatory two-day stopover in Bangkok.

Arriving on Valentine’s Day, 1989, he had no interest in seeing the city. Instead, he had planned on holing up in his hotel room to spend his downtime reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but the capital, with what he called its “air of excitement and a little bit of lawlessness,” along with the genial people, slowly pulled him into their orbit.

Mr Biggs extended that two-day visa for two weeks and then two months, backpacking around much of the country. Every time he called his mother she’d tell him to leave Thailand immediately because it was too dangerous.

In an irony of travel ironies, when he finally arrived in London all of his possessions were stolen out of his friend’s flat within the first two days, including his traveller’s cheques and clothes – whereas nothing in the least negative had befallen him while in Thailand.

Only a month later, after realizing that being a journalist in London would be much the same as in Australia, he was back in Bangkok, convinced that the capital would be a more dramatic catalyst and backdrop for stories. That theory proved to be practical.

During his time at newspaper The Nation, he witnessed some pivotal points in Thai history, like the ‘Black May’ crisis in 1992, when protestors took to the streets around Democracy Monument to voice their discontent with the installation of an unelected military government.

Around then, Andrew Biggs happened to be at work in the editorial offices of The Nation newspaper, when somebody dropped by to say they needed English-language content and videos for a public bus service in Bangkok. On the spot they offered him the job.

Initially hesitant about hosting a TV show – “I have a face that’s perfect for radio,” he said with a wry grin – the Australian turned what could have been a banal segment, English on the Bus, into an often hilarious and culturally insightful showcase for how to teach the language in Thai terms.

The 55-year-old parlayed those appearances into regular slots on Thai TV, hosting news programs and even a game show about learning English that turned him into a household name in Thailand by the late 1990s.


No longer a far-flung outpost for backpackers, Thailand has become one of the world’s greatest tourism success stories, notching up more than 30 million arrivals last year.

These are the kinds of now-and-then stories and recollections that he sometimes shares in his weekly column ‘Sanook’ (a Thai word meaning ‘fun’) in the ‘Brunch’ supplement of the Sunday Bangkok Post. It’s an entertaining read that also illuminates many murky aspects of Thai culture and history unbeknown to most foreigners.

In between running his own language school, the Andrew Biggs Academy, serving as a consultant for the Education Ministry of Thailand, working on more books and more academic degrees, the workaholic mocks his brand-name status in the kingdom, saying, “I think most of my Twitter followers just want free English lessons.”

While he still likes returning to his hometown of Brisbane for holidays, the most famous Australian living in Thailand today will not be trading in his celebrity status for a return to the limbo of anonymity in his native land any time soon.

LEADING BRAZILLIAN specialty coffee roaster and barista, Danilo de Andrade, has brought his love of coffee and skills to one of Australia’s most revered coffee brands, Di Bella Coffee.

In his new role as the company’s product manager, Mr de Antrade would boost Di Bella Coffee from the outset, based on his reputation for working with the widest variety of flavours “so critical for discerning coffee drinkers” according to Di Bella CEO Darren Dench.

“Danilo de Andrade has a wealth of coffee knowledge and expertise across various coffee roasting platforms and multiple award winning barista competitions – and we are excited to welcome him to our Bowen Hills (Brisbane) headquarters,” Mr Dench said. 

“Danilo is as passionate about the crop to cup process as we are, and this really defines the Di Bella coffee experience.”

Mr de Andrade developed his love of coffee in his home town of Sao Paulo, Brazil, the world’s largest producer of coffee, and then travelled the globe to develop his skills as a roaster and barista before arriving in Australia.

“Danilo has developed a strong following of devoted coffee lovers here in Australia and he will be bringing this unique skillset to our entire coffee industry supply chain,” Mr Dench said.

“Danilo’s experience and expertise is exceptional and he has finessed his knowledge and skills by working across the entire coffee process – working as a roaster, buying and sourcing green beans, working as a quality control manager, and even training others on the unique attributes and flavours that a single bean can contain.”

Mr Dench said having someone who really understood how to respect and work with the wide variety of flavours was critical for discerning coffee drinkers.

“Danilo is able to understand and leverage the flavour nuances so that blend profiles reflect differing taste profiles,” he said. “Coffee is similar to wine in this respect and the variety of tasting notes, the complexities of spices and the robustness or velvetiness of flavours need to sing together in real harmony.”

Mr Dench said Mr de Antrade would continue the journey of Di Bella Coffee by creating unique coffee blends that loyal customers can savour.

“My coffee philosophy is to retain the integrity of the bean’s origin and unlock the flavours and nuances that the growers want to amplify and that Di Bella consumers truly enjoy,” Mr de Antrade said.

Mr Dench said Di Bella Coffee was now Australia’s leading specialty coffee roaster and supports ethical and sustainable producers. He said these relationships provided access to the world’s finest coffees and were an important part of delivering the “ultimate coffee experience”. Di Bella Coffee is part of Retail Food Group.


CPA AUSTRALIA has confirmed former Efic leader Andrew Hunter will be the accountants’ organisation’s new chief executive officer, starting on April 3.

CPA Australia president and chairman, Peter Wilson said Mr Hunter was chosen by the board from an excellent short list of four men and four women selected from Australia and overseas. 

“The new board has been working to appoint the right person to take CPA Australia forward and we believe Andrew will do an outstanding job for our members and this organisation,” Mr Wilson said.

“Andrew is a proven CEO with international experience who has demonstrated he can drive change, understand stakeholder needs, and bring out the best in organisations.”   

Mr Hunter was most recently managing director and CEO of the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), where he developed and implemented a new strategy that refocused the organisation on its core purpose and dramatically improved relationships with all stakeholders.

Prior to his role at Efic, Mr Hunter held several senior positions with Macquarie Group including head of Macquarie Capital Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Mr Hunter said he was excited about taking on the role.

“CPA Australia is a great organisation and I’m looking forward to meeting and working with all the staff, as well as the division and branch councils,” Mr Hunter said.

“Delivering value and service to members will be a priority and I will be talking with members to get an understanding of their perspectives on CPA Australia’s future direction.”

Mr Hunter’s annual base remuneration will be $650,000 with an at-risk incentive component of one third of his base remuneration. Mr Hunter’s contract includes a mutual notice period of six months.

Mr Wilson thanked Adam Awty who has been interim CEO since June 2017.

“Adam took up the interim CEO role during the most tumultuous period in CPA Australia's history and the new board thanks him for his efforts to keep the organisation moving ahead over this time,” Mr Hunter said.

“After 18 years with CPA Australia, Adam will be leaving the organisation to pursue other career opportunities.  Adam’s former chief operating officer commercial role has been made redundant and he will receive a redundancy payment in accordance with the organisation’s policies of $843,446.  His last day will be April 2.”


BRISBANE-BASED Entrepreneur Dean Foley has taken out the Early Career Professional Award at the Indigenous STEM Awards.

Mr Foley is a Kamilaroi man and founder of Barayamal, a 100-percent Indigenous owned and managed charity that assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs through coding programs for young people, mentoring and workshops. 

He will receive $20,000 to support his work as Indigenous STEM Education ambassadors in 2018.

Caboolture School Student and aspiring neuromorphic engineer Kayla Pattel won the Secondary Student Award. She has participated in the Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Science (ASSETS), Health Science Camp, Spark Engineering Camp, QUT Robotics Open Day and SPARQ-Ed Dynamic Tumour Heterogeneity in Melanoma Camp at the University of Queensland. Ms Pattel has also worked as a summer student for Boeing Defence.

Funded by the BHP Billiton Foundation and delivered by CSIRO, the awards recognise the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, teachers and scientists, to inspire more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies and careers.


THE Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Queensland board has appointed Kirsty Chessher‐Brown as the state’s new chief executive officer.

Ms Chessher‐Brown has been with the institute since 2006, most recently in the role of director of policy, research and sustainability. She said she was eager to continue the gains UDIA has made in recent times in Queensland, and tackle the ongoing challenges of “land fragmentation, the timely delivery of infrastructure, the supply of diverse and affordable housing typologies, and transparent and open communication between government, developers and the community”. 

State president Stephen Harrison said the appointment followed a desire by the board to continue the path forged by outgoing CEO Marina Vit.

“The institute has experienced many successes in recent times, including influencing policy development critical to delivering diverse housing in Queensland,” Mr Harrison said.

“Our Research Foundation has also gone from strength to strength, delivering insights that give our members an evidence base for their decision making. All this has culminated in record numbers of new members joining us in both metropolitan and regional centres throughout the State.

“It’s is a winning formula benefiting both members and the industry. As a result, we wanted a leadership evolution and we believe Kirsty is best placed to take the institute forward, delivering ongoing value to members in all regions through its advocacy, policy, events, and professional development program,” Mr Harrison said.

“Kirsty’s knowledge of the industry is second to none, making her the natural choice to lead the institute and support the industry to deliver vibrant Queensland communities.”

Ms Chessher‐Brown said she was passionate about the UDIA and looked forward to continuing her long association with its members across Queensland and all levels of government.

“The institute’s research program will continue to play a critical role in shaping our advocacy efforts and agenda to ensure members can deliver the type of housing the community is calling for,” she said.

“I'm looking forward to working with our members as well as the State and Local Governments to resolve some of the current challenges our industry faces including land fragmentation, the timely delivery of infrastructure, the supply of diverse and affordable housing typologies, and transparent and open communication between government, developers and the community.”


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