Skip to main content


Australia-India Council Board

Australia-India Council Board Members are appointed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Council's Chair is appointed by the Governor-General of Australia on the nomination of the Minister.

Board Members


Mr Ashok Jacob, Executive Chairman of Ellerston Capital (NSW)

Ashok Jacob

Mr Jacob is the Executive Chairman and Portfolio Manager of Ellerston Capital.

He is also a Director of MRF Ltd, one of India's largest tyre companies based in Chennai.

Mr Jacob is a director of Thorney Opportunities Limited. Mr Jacob was the Managing Director of Thorney Holdings, the investment arm of the Pratt Group, from 1991 to 1998, after joining in 1984.

He was previously a member of Australia's Trade, Tourism and Investment Policy Advisory Council chaired by the then Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. He was also a former director of Malayala Manorama, one of India's largest media companies.

Mr Jacob holds an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science from St Joseph's College, Bangalore, India.


Ms Neema Premji, Director of Premji Board Consultancy and Management Services (WA)

Ms Premji is Director of Premji Board Consultancy and Management Services, which assists organisations with strategic planning, risk management, corporate governance frameworks, board evaluations and executive mentoring. Ms Premji has served as Chair and Director of the Bunbury Port Authority and Director of the Busselton Water Board. Ms Premji's corporate governance experience includes significant organisational restructures and mergers.

Ms Premji has previously worked with Wesfarmers Coal Limited and BHP Research as a mining engineer, spanning the infrastructure, water, power, mining and transport sectors. Ms Premji has a comprehensive understanding of related federal, state and local government regulatory regimes.

Professor Robin Batterham AO (VIC)

Professor Batterham is one of Australia's leading scientists and a world-leading chemical engineer. Professor Batterham has had a distinguished career in research and technology, across the public and private sectors, including in mining, mineral processing, mineral agglomeration processes and iron making. Professor Batterham is an inventor across over 20 patent families and an innovation expert.

Professor Batterham is Kernot Professor of Engineering at the University of Melbourne and a former Chief Scientist of Australia from 1999 to 2005. He has held senior research positions with Rio Tinto and on the International Energy Agency Expert Group on Science for Energy.

Professor Batterham is concurrently serving as Chair of the Advisory Panel of the Australia India Strategic Research Fund.

Dr Vanessa Guthrie (WA)

Dr Guthrie has more than 30 years' experience in the mining and resources industries. Dr Guthrie is the former Chair of the Minerals Council of Australia and former Managing Director and CEO of Toro Energy Limited. She has qualifications in geology, environment, law and business management, including a Doctor of Philosophy in Geology.

Dr Guthrie was WA's first female mine manager at Alcoa's Huntly bauxite mine at Dwellingup, and has held senior roles at Alcoa, Woodside Energy, RGC, Pasminco, Goldfields Limited and WMC.

Dr Guthrie is Deputy Chair of the WA Cricket Association and a Director of Murlpirrmurra Connection. She was appointed to the Australian Reference Group for the India Economic Strategy and to the Australia-India Prime Ministers' CEO Forum in 2015 to help drive bilateral economic relations between Australia and India.

Dr Guthrie is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Chief Executive Women, and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE). She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Curtin University.

Ms Sanushka Seomangal, Partner, Thomson Geer (NSW)

Ms Seomangal specialises in equity capital markets, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions. Her practice is largely cross-border with an Asia-focus and she has expertise in capital markets and M&A transactions involving clients in the People's Republic of China, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and India, as well as capital markets and M&A transactions involving clients in the USA and the UK.

Amongst her professional achievements, Sanushka was named by the Australian Financial Review as one of the 100 Women of Influence in Australia 2018. She has a particular interest in India and is a co-founder and director of the School of Policy and Governance, co-founder of the Australia India Youth Dialogue and National Vice Chair of the Australia India Business Council.

Back to top