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Board of Directors

Richard Andrews


Owner and Chief Executive - Cutting Edges Equipment Parts Pty Limited

Australia’s largest aftermarket supplier of Equipment Parts for the mining and construction industry, Operating since 1960

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  • National branch and distribution network throughout Australia

  • Local and international manufacturing and distribution

  • Manufacturing and distribution links to Latin America dating back to 1996

Proprietor and Managing Director

  • Tailored Solutions Group

Director – Our Big Kitchen Ltd

  • A Sydney based not for profit charity kitchen producing over 80,000 meals every year for persons in need

Marcelo Salas

Chief Executive Officer and Company Secretary


Marcelo has been the CEO of ALABC since May 2018. He was a Non-Executive Director of ALABC between 2010 and 2017.

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Prior to his current role, he was Senior Partner at Euromonitor International in Sydney, a global consulting firm specialising in strategic intelligence for economies, markets, industries and consumers. 

Marcelo is an accomplished international business executive with more than 15 years’ experience as Senior Trade Commissioner for Chile based in the USA and in Australia. As a government official, Marcelo gained considerable experience in marketing, communications, information systems and in the design and implementation of growth strategies for companies looking to enter new markets. He was also part of the team that negotiated the FTA between Chile and Australia signed in 2009.

Between postings, he was Deputy Director and Chief Information Officer of ProChile at Santiago HQ and before, General Manager for International Marketing, responsible for the first Chile's Country Brand Campaign globally.  

He has a deep understanding of the mining services and equipment industry, FMCG, Tourism, International Education, Mining and Manufacturing and an extensive network of business contacts and market knowledge in Latin American countries.  His more than 30 years international experience in government and the private sector, gave him the necessary skills to understand global market dynamics and the complexities of dealing with different business cultures and multidisciplinary teams.

Marcelo is a Commercial Engineer from The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (Valparaiso), with Post Graduate diplomas in International Trade  Negotiations:; International Marketing and E-Commerce Strategy.


Valeria Alvano


LATAM Airlines

Ms Alvano is a skilled aviation professional, possessing extensive experience within the LATAM Airlines Group, having worked in a range of revenue, commercial, planning and strategic partnership roles.

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For the previous five years, Ms Alvano has held the position of Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, based at LATAM’s head office in Santiago, Chile. Before this, her roles included Commercial Director for the South American business unit, Manager of Route Revenue for the USA, South America and Asia, Manager of Route Revenue for North America and Senior Strategic Manager for Commercial Partnerships, South America.

Michael Blake

Vice-Chair SA AND NT

Michael works in agribusiness at the South Australian State Government Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA). He grew up in Patagonia, Argentina and speaks fluent Spanish and French.

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Michael has been a member of ALABC since its inception. He worked for over 25 years with Elders and French multinational Chargeurs, operating international trade activities, mainly in the agricultural commodities area. His agribusiness experience is in market access, development and intelligence, as well as extension, innovation and transfer of technology in the livestock industries. He travels regularly to the region, freely giving of his knowledge to the agribusiness sector.

Michael is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), has a BSc in Animal Science, and has lived and worked in Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, and Europe

Aileen Croghan


Aileen joined ALABC as an individual member following a twenty-year career with the Australian Government in international development, foreign affairs and trade, including working overseas in the Pacific, Asia and Latin America.

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This focus follows a complementary and extensive career in education and training at state, national and international level. She continues her engagement in international relations on a consultancy basis with a strong commitment to support Australia Latin America linkages.

Aileen’s most recent positions In the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade focused on the Australia Latin America relationship - including managing the Secretariat for the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) over a number of board terms. In this role Aileen worked with COALAR in its advocacy for the relationship between the two regions and the promotion of trade and commercial relations.

COALAR’s engagement with ALABC is longstanding and Aileen has worked closely with ALABC on COALAR's behalf, establishing close and productive relationships. Aileen now welcomes the opportunity to continue support to ALABC in its exploration and development of new networks and initiatives. .

Steve Hall

Vice-Chair WA

Duratray International

Perth-based experienced project manager, mine manager and general manager with tertiary qualifications in Engineering; holds an MBA qualification from Monash University.

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Also an active member of;

  • Australian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy (AusIMM)

  • West Australian Mining Club (WAMC)

  • Asset Management Council (AM Council)

  • Institute of Quarrying Australia (IQA)

Working in Chile from 1989-1996 and 2002-03, Mr Hall speaks fluent Spanish and has travelled extensively throughout the Americas developing successful business in Chile, Perú, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Suriname, Guyana and Mexico for several Australian-owned companies in the mining equipment, technology & services (METS) sector.   Has been closely involved with ALABC activities since 1990, and serves on the Board of Directors of the mining equipment technology & services export association Austmine since 2009.

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Paola Lasso


Newcrest Mining
Chair: Governance and OH&S Steering Committee

Paola’s professional experience covers a broad range of sectors including social performance, government relations, mining, agriculture, energy, public policy and legal affairs.

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Paola is the current Manager, External Affairs at Newcrest Mining with responsibility for the risk analysis of new jurisdictions and mining projects for due diligence, governance for government relations worldwide and large social performance projects. She also serves on the Board of the Australia – Latin America Business Council.

She has previously worked for OceanaGold Corporation as Community and Government Relations Adviser and for Kingsgate Consolidated as Corporate Social Responsibility Manager. Her former career was as a Colombian diplomat, where she worked on a wide range of political, economic and commercial issues, with a special focus on trade and investment. Paola worked earlier as an adviser to the Legal Secretariat for the Colombian President. She owned and managed a café in her late teens throughout university.

Paola is a qualified civil legal system lawyer from the Javeriana Pontifical University with studies of economics in Colombia and Research Methods at the Australian National University. She holds an MBA and a Master of International Business from the University of Canberra and completed a Graduate Diploma in Mineral Exploration Geoscience at Curtin's WA School of Mines.

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Harold Lucero

Vice-Chair NSW

Discidium Pty Ltd

Harold is the CEO and Co-Founder of Discidium – a company delivering innovative business models and technology platforms to help enable forward-looking financial services and products.

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Originally from Latin America, Harold completed his undergraduate studies in the U.S. and later postgraduate studies in Australia where he now resides.

Harold is a creative, entrepreneurial and a skilled strategist executive with over 20 years of professional experience in the banking, stockbroking and information technology industries. Harold has founded, established, operated and divested of a diverse number of telecommunications and e-commerce marketplace ventures. In recent years, his in-depth understanding of emerging technologies and their commercial applications has also led him to the founding of Discidium Pty Ltd (Discidium) and Lucsan Capital (Lucsan) a management consulting, advanced data analytics and regulatory technology (RegTech) organisation offering enterprise data and risk management solutions for the financial services industry.

Harold’s ventures have involved substantial equity and debt fund-raising round activities as well as a recipient of multiple grants including a $1M Accelerating Commercialisation innovation grant provided by the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme.

Harold currently holds several board positions including Director and Board Member of the RegTech Association (RTA), the NSW Vice-Chair and Board Member for the Australian Latin American Business Council (ALABC). He is also a Master Practitioner of the Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers Association (MSAA), a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and Fellow Member of the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

Harold is a keen promoter of entrepreneurship programs mentoring across various start-up ecosystems, he is also a regular speaker and guest lecturer at Business Schools and enjoys developing ecosystems to support innovation, new marketplaces / business models and early stage investment.

Harold holds a BA in Computer Science and Mathematics from Kean University – NJ, USA and a Masters in Banking and Finance from The University of Technology (UTS) – Sydney Australia.

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Andrew Phillips


Lithium Power International

Andrew Phillips has over 25 years experience working in senior financial and commercial management positions with several public and multinational companies based in Australia and New Zealand.

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He has a thorough knowledge of international finance and corporate services and has an extensive network of contacts throughout Asia and the Americas. Mr Phillips was previously Group Financial Controller for Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL), a Director of Aristocrat (NZ) Limited, Executive Director for the Recovre Group (a former division of Allianz Insurance) and CFO and Executive Director for Hoya Lens Australia Pty Ltd and Hoya Lens NZ Ltd, a subsidiary of Tokyo listed Hoya Corporation (TSE: 77410).

Over the past 5 years, he has have served as Director of ASX listed companies, ConnXion Limited (ASX: CXN), HLI Limited (ASX: HLI), Beauty Health Group Ltd (ASX: BHG), Dateline Resources Ltd (ASX: DTR), Crestal Petroleum Ltd (ASX: CRX), Richfield International Ltd (ASX: RIS) and was Company Secretary and CFO of Sequoia Financial Group Ltd (ASX: SEQ), formally MDS Financial Group Ltd (ASX: MWS).

He is currently Executive Director, CFO and Company Secretary of Lithium Power International Ltd (ASX: LPI), along with holding Independent Directorships for ASX listed public companies, Longreach Oil Ltd (ASX: LGO) and Southern Cross Exploration NL (ASX: SXX).

In addition, via his private company Sarah Guy Pty Ltd, Mr Phillips provides corporate services for clients in Australia and internationally. Through Sarah Guy, he acts for a number of Australian proprietary registered companies by representing overseas entities as their local director, local agent or public officer. Current clients are domiciled in the US, the UK, the UAE, Canada, France, New Zealand, Fiji, Israel, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

He believes in ‘giving back’ to the community and accordingly acts, on a pro-bono basis, as a Director of Oasis Africa Australia, a charitable organisation providing aid and funds to children in Kenya, and is Vice Captain and a member of the Finance and Compliance Committee for North Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club.

Mr Phillips provides core competencies in corporate governance, statutory compliance, financial modelling, analytical skills, corporate restructuring and Equity Capital Markets, including IPOs, RTOs and Merger & Acquisition transactions.

Over the past 3 years he has lead the acquisition of lithium tenements in Chile, Argentina and Western Australia and the IPO process for Lithium Power International, participated in a property development joint venture project in Fiji for Southern Cross Exploration and led the merger process of MDS Financial Group and Sequoia Financial Group.

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Nico Soza


Chair: Finance and Compensation Steering Committee

Premium Tax

Nicolas (Nico) Soza is a Public Accountant who graduated from the University of Valparaiso, Chile. He has an MBA from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain. He is also a Member of the Institute of Public Accountants (Australia).

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Nico has more than 15 years providing individual tax assistance and cross-border tax, reporting and social security advice to Australian companies working in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. He has assisted companies with their first arrival into these and other Latin American locations, both in meeting compliance obligations and in understanding the cultural differences and potential barriers which can be hard to navigate when entering this market.

In his previous role at PwC, he led an interdisciplinary & global tax and payroll team to provide services to global companies, including the implementation of their global rewards programs as a result of the companies’ HR strategy, and the analysis of the performance/effectiveness of rewards & mobility programs, processes improvement (considering LEAN initiatives) and compliance reviews on statutory requirements, payroll and tax aspects. He has also been supporting global organisations with establishing the right level of governance of their global payroll operations and new related initiatives, such as mitigation plans, impact of new reward plans, changes on tax, social security and payroll reporting requirements.

Part of his experience at PwC included being the Senior Account Manager for a top-tier mining company.

He also created PwC’s Latin American multidisciplinary desk which included involvement in several activities to encourage Australian investors to do business in Latin America. These activities resulted in the creation of genuine business relationships with ambassadors, business leaders.

In 2007, he was an Assistant Lecturer, Tax Law for Public Accounting and Business programs at University of Santiago, Chile. Nico relocated to Australia in 2008.

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Rob Whiddon

Vice Chair QLD

Individual Membership

Rob Whiddon was Managing Director of Trade and Investment Queensland, the international arm of the Queensland Government, for six years from 2008 to 2014.

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TIQ assists Queensland business with export advice from its professional team in its Brisbane headquarters, and through its many international offices in The Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Under his stewardship of TIQ the Queensland Government opened a trade and investment office for Latin America based in Santiago, Chile, the first Australian state to have a base in the region.

As MD of TIQ he had a very close relationship with ALABC, and he continued that involvement by joining ALABC in a personal capacity after his TIQ term concluded. He has been a Director of ALABC for the past twelve months.

Now living on the Gold Coast, Rob remains involved in international trade and investment activity. As well as ALABC he is on the board of the Council On Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) , and also on the Management Committee of the Queensland Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He received an Australia Latin America Business Excellence Award in 2013 for an “outstanding contribution to business between Australia and Latin America”.

As MD of TIQ he served on the board of Australia Trade Coast, and was Chair of the Queensland Government’s G20 Economic Benefits Working Group when the G20 met in Brisbane. He is a member of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Prior to his appointment to TIQ, Rob was Chief of Staff to Queensland Premier Peter Beattie for eleven years, and before that a Private Secretary to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bill Hayden.

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