Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is key to the dynamic culture that drives AmCham, and they reflect the forward-thinking ethos that drives us and our members onward. They are responsible for the policy, direction and governance of the organisational activities in all states.

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Chair
Brendan Nelson

President - Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific
Boeing Australia Holdings Pty Ltd

Dr Brendan Nelson AO was appointed President of Boeing in Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific in February 2020. Dr Nelson is chairman of the board for Boeing Australia Holdings and the company’s senior leader for its 3,800 employees working across commercial airplane manufacturing, defence systems, services, research & development, and autonomous systems. Prior to Boeing, Dr Nelson served as director of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. He began his career in 1985 as a medical practitioner before going on to lead the Australian Medical Association. In 1996, he was elected to the Federal Parliament of Australia serving as Minister for Education, Science and Training and then as Minister for Defence. He was elected leader of Australia’s Liberal Party in 2007 and led the Opposition until 2008. He later served as Australia’s ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO until 2012. In 2016, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for his services to the community and the parliament of Australia, his diplomacy, and his cultural leadership.

Director
Deborah Chew

Partner - Corporate and Commercial
Hall & Wilcox Lawyers

Deborah has over 25 years of corporate and commercial experience across a broad range of commercial transactions, and has advised on substantial mergers and acquisitions and private equity and capital raising transactions. Deborah’s practice includes company and business acquisitions and sales, public and private issuances of equity and debt securities, shareholders agreements and joint ventures, management equity arrangements, commercial structuring and corporate organisational restructuring and corporate governance and ASX Listing Rule advice. Deborah has led and worked on a large number of major transactions, both at Hall & Wilcox and previous top tier firms (in Australia and the United States). Before joining Hall & Wilcox, Deborah was a partner at Allens Arthur Robinson and prior to that worked for almost ten years at a leading New York firm, Debevoise & Plimpton.

Director
Martin Creighan

Managing Director
AT&T

Martin Creighan was named Managing Director of AT&T Australia and New Zealand in 2013. With a career at AT&T that began in 2004, Martin is responsible for AT&T’s sales, business development and supporting business functions including service delivery, after sales support, marketing, finance and human resources for the region. Martin has more than 25 years’ experience in the technology, media and telecommunications industry and has a broad range of technical and business acumen. In Martin’s previous role as Director of Sales and business development for AT&T, he was responsible for growing business revenue and a local footprint to support multi-national enterprise customers. Prior to AT&T, Martin started his career in the US Navy where he spent almost 10 years as an Operations Specialist, he was responsible for building and project managing simulated warfare environments. Since then he has held Sales, Marketing and Business Management roles with Radware, SecureNet, Baltimore Technologies and Viasoft.

Director
Nick McKenna

President, Australia East
ConocoPhillips Australia Operations Pty Ltd

Nick McKenna is President, Australia East for ConocoPhillips based in Brisbane. Nick has 24 years of industry experience and joined ConocoPhillips in Houston in 2007 as the manager of Quality and Management Systems within the Project Development organization. In 2010, he was seconded to Australia Pacific LNG as the general manager, Project Office. In February 2013, Nick moved to Calgary, Canada, where he assumed the role of vice president, Oil Sands Development, and then was appointed vice president of Oil Sands Development and Subsurface in November 2015. Prior to assuming his current role in 2019, he was asset manager, Central Rockies and Anadarko, USA. Before joining ConocoPhillips, he worked for McKinsey & Company in Houston. Nick has also worked for Technip in Houston, Halliburton Subsea in Singapore and Brown & Root Energy Services in Australia. At these firms, he held a number of engineering and supervisory roles.

Director
Chris Morris

Partner, M&A and International Tax
PwC

Chris is a Partner at PwC Australia and leads the Deals (Mergers & Acquisitions) Tax group. Chris also leads the Financial Assurance USA inbound practice. Chris was appointed Partner in 2006 and soon after was seconded to PwC USA for two years to establish the Australian tax desk to advise USA based clients on their Australian tax requirements. On returning from the USA, Chris focussed on USA inbound investment into Australia and has advised on a number of listed company takeovers both by USA corporations and USA based Private Equity Funds. Chris has been an active member of Amcham as Chairperson of Amcham's Tax Committee since its inception.

Director
April Palmerlee

Chief Executive Officer
American Chamber of Commerce in Australia

April Palmerlee is the CEO of AmCham. Previously, she worked at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, Potomac Partners, and the Centre for Independent Studies. Before moving from the US to Australia in 2003, she was the State Department’s Senior Coordinator for International Women’s Issues. Previously, she held leadership roles at the Council on Foreign Relations, Oscar de la Renta, The Bank Credit Analyst, and The Spanish Institute. She serves on the boards of the Centre for Independent Studies and the Georgetown University Australian and New Zealand Studies Center. She is on the Australian Fulbright Commission. Ms Palmerlee is a dual citizen. She received a Bachelor of Science from Georgetown University and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of Chief Executive Women.

Vice Chair
William Ruh

CEO, Digital
Lendlease Corporation

Mr. William Ruh is the Chief Executive Officer for LendLease Digital. In this role, he is focused on building out advanced automation and analytics capabilities, as well as driving the global strategy, operations and portfolio of digital services across all of LendLease businesses. His portfolio includes the Innovation Group, Living Utilities, Technology in Property, DesignMake and the IT organization.Prior to joining LendLease, Mr. Ruh was the CEO of GE Digital and the Chief Digital Officer for GE. He grew the overall GE digital sales 2.5x and established the GE Digital business unit. During his tenure, Mr. Ruh led the charge to develop the first cloud-based platform for the industrial world. A recognized expert in the emerging Industrial Internet of Things he helped establish the Industrial Internet Consortium, was a member of the US Dept of Commerce Digital Economy Board of Advisors, Executive Board member of the Bay Area Council as well as the Co-Chair of the Bay Area Council India Initiative and is a member of the board of the Magna Corporation.

Director
Bill Townsend

Deputy Vice President Corporate Coordination
INPEX Operations Australia Pty Ltd

Bill Townsend is Deputy Vice President Corporate Coordination INPEX. In this role, Bill manages External Affairs, Human Resources, Industrial Relations, Business Services, Integrated Services and INPEX’s corporate interests in the Northern Territory. Bill joined INPEX in 2006. Beginning his career as a US Navy submarine officer, Bill entered the oil and gas industry in 1994 as a Business Advisor to BP Russia based in Moscow. Further commercial and external affairs assignments followed with BP in Azerbaijan and Georgia. Bill arrived in Australia in 2004 to take up the role of Joint Venture Coordination Manager for the North West Shelf Ventures at Woodside Energy. Bill is also a Director of the Energy Policy Institute of Australia. Bill earned a BA (Political Science) from Northwestern University and an MBA from Dartmouth College.

Director
Jim Whalley

Chief Entrepreneur of South Australia
Government of South Australia

Jim Whalley is the CEO and co-founder of the Nova Group (www.novagroup.com.au ), an engineering and project management professional services firm spanning defence, transport, utilities, energy and communications. Jim is a former RAAF fighter pilot and test pilot and among other qualifications holds a BSc, an MBA and is a Graduate of the Harvard Business School OPM Executive Education Program and the UK Empire Test Pilots’ School. Jim currently serves on several defence, industry and university boards and advisory committees. The Nova Group itself employs over 300 people throughout Australia and in the UK, NZ and Singapore with skills in areas ranging from flight testing and electronic warfare to system safety and satellite communications. Nova has been listed as an SA Top 100 company, a BRW fast 100 company, an SA Fast Movers Company and one of the BRW 50 best places to work in Australia.