Current AJF Board Members
Mr Bruce Miller AO
Term: 24 August 2020 to 23 August 2025
Bruce Miller AO was Australian Ambassador to Japan from August 2011 until January 2017, and has had over 40 years' association with Japan. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney.
He spent most of his 32-year public service career handling Australia's relations with East Asia. In Australia, he occupied senior positions in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Office of National Assessments, including as Director-General.
He joined the TAL Dai-ichi Life Board in April 2018. He is an advisor to TAL's Japanese parent, Dai-ichi Life Holdings, and also to Japanese companies INPEX and Mitsui Matsushima Holdings.
He is a Distinguished Policy Fellow at the Australian National University, Chair of the Advisory Board to the Asia Institute of Griffith University and President of the Chadō Urasenke Melbourne Association.
He was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours.
In 2018, he married his partner of 25 years, Mr Mikio Ishizawa.
Professor Veronica Taylor
Term: 24 August 2020 to 31 July 2022
Professor Veronica L. Taylor is a Research Professor of Law and Regulation at the Australian National University (ANU) School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet). She currently directs the ANU Japan Institute.
She is an international and comparative lawyer specializing in legal and institutional reform and economic development. She has designed and led legal reform projects in Afghanistan, Armenia, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Netherlands, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
She was previously the Dean of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, and an ANU Public Policy Fellow, and Director of RegNet and the ANU Japan Institute. Prior to joining ANU, she was the Director of the Asian Law Center at the University of Washington, Seattle, where she led the Japanese Law Program.
She also served as Chair of the Japan Foundation's American Advisory Committee.
Professor Taylor serves on the Executive of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee and is a Board Member of the Foundation for Australia-Japan Studies (FAJS).
Ms Wendy Holdenson
Term: 24 August 2020 to 23 August 2023
Wendy is Director and Executive Vice President of Mitsui & Co. Australia.
Mitsui & Co. Australia is the wholly owned Australian subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., one of the world's most diversified trading, investment and services enterprises. Its diverse portfolio of businesses in Australia includes iron ore, coal, gas, oil, food, grain, salt, woodchips, power generation, machinery, steel products, chemicals, technology and financial services.
Wendy has worked extensively in both the public and private sectors. She represented Australia in Japan as Consul-General and Trade & Investment Commissioner. In that role, she successfully attracted foreign investment to benefit Australia's food services, biotechnology, IT and energy sectors. She was later State Director Western Australia/South Australia /Northern Territory for the Australian Trade Commission.
Wendy has held executive positions in Ernst & Young, Caltex, and GHD. She is a proponent of innovation as the key to corporate sustainability, and has championed innovation programs in all these organisations.
Wendy has served on education institution and government boards. As Business Champion for the Federal Government's New Colombo Plan, and Trustee for the Mitsui Educational Foundation, Wendy is passionate about mobility in Asia for young Australians. Wendy is also on the Maggie Beer Foundation Board, which aims to improve the quality of food for residents in aged-care homes throughout Australia.
Wendy has a Master of Commerce from UNSW; her under-graduate degree is from Sophia University, Tokyo. She currently mentors high-achiever under graduates at the UNSW Business School.
Mr Adam Liaw
Term: 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2024
Mr Liaw is a writer and television presenter. Before his current career, he was a lawyer for more than a decade between Japan and Australia, most recently with The Walt Disney Company in Tokyo.
After returning to Australia from his time in Japan, Mr Liaw turned to writing. He has published six books on Asian cuisines, and written as a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and The Guardian.
As a television presenter his series, Destination Flavour, has travelled through Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Singapore and China. In 2017 it won the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award for Best Lifestyle Television Program.
He is UNICEF Australia's national ambassador for nutrition, and was appointed as an official Goodwill Ambassador for Japanese Cuisine by the Japanese government in 2016.
He speaks English, Japanese and basic Mandarin Chinese.
Mr Mark Connors
Term: 24 March 2020 to 23 March 2023
Mr Connors has a diverse background including legal, financial services, professional sport, rugby commentary, charity work and Board directorships. Following completion of his law degree at QUT he practiced as a lawyer in Brisbane over a 12 year period and combined this with a professional rugby union sporting career representing both the Queensland Reds and Wallabies.
His rugby career highlights include winning the 1999 World Cup as well as Bledisloe Cup and Tri-Nations Series' victories with the Wallabies, and Super 10 Championship wins with the Queensland Reds. During his professional rugby union career he also lived and played rugby in both England and Japan, has performed numerous speaking engagements and held an ongoing part-time rugby commentary role with Radio 4TAB for nearly two decades. Mr Connors previously served on the Board of the Australia Rugby Union from 2007 to 2012 and in April 2012 was appointed to the Board of the Queensland Rugby Union.
Mr Connors worked in the Financial Services Industry with Wilson HTM for 10 years before joining FIIG in mid-2016 as its Queensland State Manager. Mr Connors was appointed as FIIG's joint Head of Private Client Solutions in mid-2018 and is still a current serving Non-Executive Director on the Board of the Queensland Rugby Union.
Ms Debra Hazelton
Term: 1 October 2018 to 1 October 2021
Debra was appointed AMP Chair in August 2020. She originally joined the AMP Limited Board in June 2019 and is a member of the Remuneration, Audit, Nomination and Risk Committees. At the same time, she was appointed to the AMP Bank Board and is a member of its Audit and Risk Committees. In addition, Debra was appointed to the AMP Capital Holdings Limited Board in June 2018 and is a member of its Audit and Risk Committee.
Debra has significant experience from more than 30 years in global financial services, including as the local Chief Executive of Mizuho Bank in Australia and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) in Japan. She has expertise across fixed interest, treasury, institutional banking, risk management and financial markets.
Debra is also a non-executive director on the boards of Treasury Corporation of Victoria and Persol Australia Holdings. Her previous board experience includes Australian Financial Markets Association (AFMA), Asia Society and Women in Banking and Finance. She has graduate and post-graduate degrees in Japanese language, literature and philosophy as well as economics and finance.
Mr Chris Saines CNZM
Director, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art
Term: 24 March 2020 to 23 March 2023
Chris Saines is Director of the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Brisbane, Australia. He has worked for over 35 years in leading galleries in Australia and New Zealand as a director, curatorial and collection manager, educator and curator. As Director of QAGOMA since 2013, he has overseen major exhibitions by top international artists Cai Guo-Qiang, David Lynch, Cindy Sherman, Yayoi Kusama, Gerhard Richter and Patricia Piccinini. He has driven record attendance for the Gallery and steered the eighth and ninth editions of the flagship exhibition series, The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. His current focus is to reinvigorate the original Queensland Art Gallery building and drive the creation of a dedicated all ages learning centre for the Gallery.
Previously, Chris was Director of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand from 1996-2013. He is currently Chair of the Council of Australian Art Museum Directors, has judged major national art prizes, and sat on the selection panels for both Australia and New Zealand's representation at the Venice Biennale.
How can I contact a Board Member?
You may contact any AJF Board Member through the AJF Secretariat in Canberra.