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Brent Needham
Founder and Executive Chairman

Brent is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Kennedy Needham Corporate Advisors which was founded in 1987. Kennedy Needham merged with the BlueMount Capital group in 2017.

Brent has over 40 years’ experience in Corporate Advisory, Investment Banking and International Management Consulting. His career also included two periods as CEO of private enterprise organizations. Over his career, he has worked on projects involving capital raising, listing activities in a wide range of industries including life sciences, acquisitions, divestments, MBOs, and senior consulting assignments in Australia and overseas.

A commerce graduate from the University of Melbourne, Brent has wide industry experience having worked among others with clients in Financial Services, Food Manufacture, Records Management, Retailing, Engineering and Architecture Consulting, Building and Construction, and Marine & Aviation Insurance and Payment Services.

Michael Shaw
Managing Director

Michael has a both deep and rich experience garnered from working with leading securities firms in M&A in Australia that is now applied to assisting clients, to ensure they are continuously creating strategic value for their businesses.

  • Value Added Food and Specialised Manufacturing
  • Capital Raising and MBOs/MBIs
  • Cross Border transactions in the Agriculture and Food Industries
  • Growth capital for international Health and Life Sciences businesses

Michael specialises in assisting mid-market, growth-oriented private businesses to move through all phases of their life cycle – including creation, growth and transition.

His Corporate Advisory background spans merchant and investment banking, private equity and venture capital in the food industry, and specialist funds management in life sciences. He has acted in over 60 transactions in Australian and New Zealand major and mid-market segments – including capital raisings, acquisitions, MBOs and divestitures.

Michael has led several companies in the capacity of Managing Director and Chairman, in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors. He has also acted as a pivotal figure in the transfer of business skills to several leading Australian not-for-profits.

Mark Sheppard
Regional Director, Structured Finance

Mark is a highly-experienced investment banker with more than 30 years’ senior experience in structured financing, including cross-border funding and investment structures, hybrid financial instruments, derivatives, and in the management of liquidity and regulatory risk for corporate and institutional clients.

His most recent position was Head of the Financial Solutions team at National Australia Bank. His previous positions include Executive Director and Head of Financial Structuring Group – Asia-Pacific (RBS), Executive Director and Head of Structured Funding and Investments – Asia-Pacific (ABN Amro) and Director and Co-head of Structured Finance – Asia-Pacific (Chase Manhattan).

Mark holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) from the University of Canterbury and Master of Philosophy (Economics) from the University of Auckland.

Sam Matara
Regional Director, Capital Projects

Sam’s unique experience covers the full spectrum of mining engineering spanning over 25 years in both Open-pit (11 years) and Underground (8 years) mining operations.

Since 2000, Sam has been working in capital project management, project valuations, mining contracting and consulting, renewable energy and essential infrastructure. He has led some green fields mining projects from conception through to completion while managing the full feasibility process from exploration to bankable documents.

Sam has also been working with reputable and large building corporates to provide land-and-house real estate solutions. He is a Senior Business Advisor who has held senior and executive appointments at the largest underground mining corporations in Southern Africa, and he has recently been doing substantial project work on renewable energy and essential infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa. He has extensive international experience and exposure, having worked in England, Australia and various countries in Southern Africa. He is also an elder and board member at his local church.

Sam holds a BSc. Mining Engineering Degree from the North Staffordshire University (UK) and a Master’s in Industrial and Administrative Sciences from the City University in London.

Dr Mona Chung
Executive President, BlueMount Capital Beijing

Mona is internationally recognised as Australia’s leading Chinese-Australian businesswoman specialises in cross-cultural negotiations and communication. She has rich and deep insights into the cross-cultural differences between China and Western businesses.

Mona has a PhD from Monash University, Australia. Her thesis was titled “The impact of cultural differences: An Australian business in China”.

Mona has extensive experience in Western-China business relationships in a broad range of industries including aged care, health care, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical science, higher education, manufacturing, professional services, mining, oil & gas, property development, construction etc. She also has depth experience in setting up joint ventures in China for foreign enterprises since the late 1990s and comprehensive knowledge in Chinese joint venture law.

In addition, Mona has a current role as Regional Director, China & Asia, for BlueMount Capital in Melbourne. Mona has a range of board experiences, from private organisations to government agencies. She has served on the executive board of the Victorian branch of the Australia China Business Council for many years. She is on international committee of Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. She is a frequent visitor to China, a regular guest speaker at private and public forums and is a well published author with over 90 publications.

Her prominent China business books are titled: “Shanghaied: why Fosters could not survive China”; “Doing business successfully in China”; “Doing business with China: Getting ready for the Asia century” and “Dancing with the dragon: Doing business with China” which are available on Amazon.

CT Johnson
Regional Director, Cross Border Transactions

CT is an American and now lives in Australia; previously he lived in the US, Russia and China. He started his career with Ernst & Young and later worked for Swedish telecom equipment-maker Ericsson. Most recently, CT worked for Huawei Technologies in China, acting first as the Head of Sales Operations and later as a member of the board of directors of several Huawei subsidiaries in Asia. CT was also a member of Huawei’s M&A team and served on the parent company’s Finance Committee. In addition to English, CT speaks German, Russian and Mandarin.

CT is an authority on cross-border transactions. He is the author of Riding The Dragon: Managing Your Chinese Investors, Partners & Employees. CT has spent the last 20 years working with and for multinational companies in Western Europe, Russia, Southeast Asia, the US and China. CT has been featured in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian and the Daily Telegraph and appeared on radio and TV programs including A Current Affair, ABC News, and 2GB speaking about the spending and investing habits of Chinese in Australia.

Kelvin Templeton
Regional Director, MENA

Kelvin is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania (USA). He has been Managing Director of Abu Dhabi based corporate advisory Firm Templeton Galt for 15 years. For six of those years, he served as Chairman of the Australian Business Group (ABG) in Abu Dhabi. ABG is an initiative of the Australian Embassy to promote trade between Australia and the UAE. Prior to founding Templeton Galt, Kelvin served as Chief Executive Officer of the Sydney Swans Football Club.

Previously, he acted for 10 years as General Manager of the Medical Clinics division of Australia’s largest private health insurer, the Medical Benefits Fund of Australia (now BUPA), where he was responsible for medical clinics in New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania.

Kelvin is a former elite sportsman and a winner in 1980 of the Brownlow Medal, the highest individual honour in Australian Football.

Lawrence Tamarkin, Ph.D.
Regional Director, North America

Dr. Tamarkin has over 30 years’ experience in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry.

During his tenure in the companies he founded, Dr. Tamarkin was directly involved in product creation/development (having held over 60 patents issued in the U.S. and in other Western countries), product testing, product manufacturing, and clinical testing, all focused on producing the necessary documentation for regulatory approval. From that experience, he understands the challenges, both technical and financial, in getting a product into the marketplace and in building a successful, financially rewarding business that meets the goals of all stakeholders.

As a Regional Director for BlueMount Capital Victoria in North America, Dr. Tamarkin is focusing on identifying high growth potential companies, looking to launch their products and/or services in the U.S. or internationally, with an eye to accessing the public financial market in Australia.

Dr. Tamarkin holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in biology from SUNY Stony Brook and a Ph.D. degree in endocrinology/physiology from the University of Connecticut.

Michael Owen
Regional Director – Singapore & Hong Kong

Michael grew up in a multi-disciplined medical family and initially studied in Australia, prior to working in the FinTech sector for a large US Corporation and before taking up roles with a respected UK-based Investment Bank.

He has been based in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia at various times over the last 28 years, initially heading up the Asian region for a UK-based provider of software-based Investment Banking solutions. In Hong Kong, he spearheaded the push into China for a US-based provider of Investment Banking services and solutions.

Michael then undertook several corporate advisory and turnaround roles that included the establishment of a new entity in the Asia Pacific region for an LSE-listed company and the restructuring of a Swedish/French firm across the Asia Pacific region.

He helped to formulate and deliver the Asia Strategy for one of Australia’s largest banking and financial services groups, subsequently heading up Strategic Projects across Asia for the largest global FinTech corporation.

Michael has worked across several disciplines, with an emphasis on Banking and Financial Services, Information Technology, Software Development and technological innovation. He has held Directorships of several companies based in Australia and overseas, including an ASX company. He also has deep experience in restructuring, capital raising and M&A.

Darren Shipard
Regional Director, UK & Europe

Darren Shipard is a globally experienced leader in value creation for large corporations and early stage companies in Europe, the USA and Australia.

Having started his career as an engineer for Honeywell in Australia, Darren progressed through various sales, marketing and management positions in Australia where a successful track record, including the Presidents Club award, led to a promotion to the USA to lead a global business in industrial automation solutions.

Enticed by the entrepreneurial opportunity Darren later joined an Atlanta start-up in the oil industry, that was formed by a consortium of mid-tier oil companies including Conoco Phillips in a joint venture with McKinsey Consulting, as a business unit director. He successfully rolled out new solutions to the large national footprint of convenience stores as part of a strategy to drive increased profitability in an environment of tightening oil margins.

Darren now resides in London where he both invests and provides his expertise as a consultant or board director to large corporations and early stage companies in a variety of sectors. As lead consultant he most recently introduced and oversaw the implementation of a major change management project for an industry leading FMCG company. The project covered 16 countries made up of both emerging and mature markets. It delivered in excess of $100M in capital and operating benefits and has been cited by industry brokers as a key driver behind improving the company’s return on invested capital. Arising out of the FMCG sector is a large opportunity for digital transformation and Darren continues to support a number of digital transformation projects in the area of asset management and go-to-market strategies.

Darren has also been a board member and investor in the clean tech sector including an early stage renewable energy company and is supporting innovative international clean tech companies looking to launch in the UK and in Europe.

As a Regional Director for BlueMount Capital in Europe, Darren is focusing on capital raising and IPOs for high growth potential companies and companies looking to launch their products and services across borders; either into Europe from abroad, or from Europe into Australia, Asia and the USA.

Darren has a BSc in Electronic Engineering from the University of Canberra and an MBA from Macquarie Graduate School of Management in Sydney.

Gavin Whiteley
Director, Agribusiness & Food

Gavin is a highly experienced professional in the fields of agribusiness, primary production, food production and processing, property, funds and business management, commodity trading, government business enterprise and in the agri-food supply chain.

Mr Whiteley is the Founder and Managing Director of the Micketymulga Group, an agri-business advisory group located in Bungendore, New South Wales. Previous roles at major agri-business operators and investors included Westchester Group (Chief Financial and Risk Officer), Bartter Enterprises, Dunavant Enterprises and Heytesbury Beef, as well as number of Government positions in the sector.

Mr Whiteley holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics (Hons) from the University of New England and Associate Diploma in Farm Management from Orange Agricultural College as well as many relevant graduate programs.

Mr Whiteley is a CPA qualified accountant and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Yang Song
Director, Corporate Advisory

Melbourne based and Director of Corporate Asian activities, Yang provides timely service, particularly on major Merger & Acquisition activities in industries where she has deep experience.

Yang has many years of experience working with Asian clients and has previously worked on various major projects in the property and nutraceuticals sectors. Two of these buy-side transactions had a total enterprise value in excess of AUD 1 billion each.

Yang specialises in cross border M&A transactions, Mezzanine Financings, Management Consulting in industries which include Medical, Pharmaceutical, Nutraceutical, Agriculture, New-Technology and Property Development & Construction. She has strong connections in Hong Kong, Australia and China.

Gerald Teh
Director, Debt Capital

Gerald has over 15 years’ experience in the banking industry and has worked in a number of Australian banks in addition to global finance companies. He spent many years of his career with a focus on businesses looking for growth funding (M&A or otherwise) and also those requiring restructuring and re-capitalisation.

His outcomes are achieved through a thorough understanding of business operations and the ability to structure transactions that benefit corporate balance sheets. Gerald’s experience spans the various markets from SME businesses to global corporates.

Gerald holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) and Bachelor of Science (Psychology). He is a full member of the MFAA.

Graeme Lavelle
Director, Financial Advisory & Valuations

Graeme is a Chartered Accountant (Fellow) with over 3 decades of experience in professional practice within the accounting profession. He worked with Coopers & Lybrand for some 25 years, 16 years as a Partner.

Graeme has a background in providing audit and assurance, investigation services, forensic accounting, expert evidence, investigating accountants and independent expert reports for public companies, as well as valuations and due diligence reviews, for a wide range of businesses and industry sectors. He has specialist experience in the mining, manufacturing, financial services, property and securities industries.

During his career Graeme has been involved in a wide variety of assignments covering financial investigations, expert reports, valuations, corporate reconstructions, takeovers, rights issues and public company share floats. He has been responsible for audit and assurance of companies in the mining, finance, property construction, property syndication, telecommunications, transport and manufacturing industries. He also has experience in company listings on the Australian, Toronto, Vancouver, New York, Nasdaq and London Stock Exchanges.

Dr Martin Hoogland
Director, Innovation & Technology

Martin is highly experienced chemical engineer specializing in water and waste water treatment and brings skills in project management, assessment and application of technology to the team.

Dr Hoogland has worked on projects in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa and throughout Australia with major multinational companies in the engineering, water and waste water sectors. In addition, he has held research positions with the University of New South Wales, the University of Hertfordshire (UK) and the Co-operative Research Centre for Waste Management and Pollution Control.

In addition to English, Dr Hoogland speaks conversational French and German, and basic Mandarin.

Dr Hoogland holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical, Honors) and a PhD, both from the University of NSW.

Robert Bolton
Director, Major Projects

Robert is an internationally experienced business transformation executive with engineering, project management and governance qualifications and experience. He is an international thought leader in the implementation of complex projects and programs.

Robert has more than 30 years’ experience, including successful implementation of infrastructure, mining, oil & gas, capital markets, banking and information technology projects. In addition, he has acted as Chairman and Executive Director of ASX listed companies.

Robert holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) from the University of Sydney and a Master of Business Administration from Ashridge Management College (UK).

Robert is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, he is certified by the Theory of Constraints International Certification Organization and the International Supply Chain Education Alliance.

Michael Emery
Director, Property and Construction

Michael has a Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Economics, Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment and Graduate Diploma in Property.

He commenced his career in law, specifically property transactions, town planning, property development and construction.

After a 7 year period with 2 of Australia’s most prolific billion dollar real estate developers, managing developments of residential, retail, retirement, hotel and entertainment complexes, Michael formed his own company, developing residential and commercial projects throughout Melbourne. He was formerly the CEO and majority shareholder of a property trust with $300 million of assets under management, leased to an ASX 200 listed company.

Michael’s capability extends to property acquisition and development structuring, property development analysis, real estate finance, syndications, property trusts and development.

Colin Aubrey
Director, Strategic Advisory & Food

Colin brings to with him more than 30 years of mergers and acquisition, divestment, broad strategy and financial, accounting, costing and budgeting, with experience gained in such industry sectors as food, consumer products, retail and local Government.

He has previously held senior positions with international leaders such as Philip Morris, General Electric, Red Tulip Chocolates, Campbell’s Soups, Stonnington City Council, Jorgenson Waring Foods and Bollé Australia.

Some of Colin’s notable achievements include a substantial involvement in the takeover of Arnott’s Biscuits, joint ventures with Spring Valley Fruit Juice and Melbourne Mushrooms, and the sale of the Kia-Ora brand for Campbell’s Soups. Colin held Directorships with each of these joint venture companies representing Campbell’s interests.

He implemented cash flow management and expense reductions whilst at Stonnington City Council which resulted in a bottom line turnaround and the doubling of funds available for capital expenditure.

Colin is a Fellow of the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants and holds a Master degree in Business Administration from the Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne.

Caroline Antonio Samuel
Senior Advisor, Africa

Caroline is approaching 10 years’ operating experience in banking, business and business development.

Caroline is an Executive Board Member for the Australia Zimbabwe Business Council where she has been actively involved for 5 years. She also sits on the Zimbabwe Australia Business Council as a board member.

Caroline has considerable banking experience, having worked for the Commonwealth Bank in business and private lending/banking.

Over the years she has honed her advisory, business development and client relationship skills and management expertise through involvement in significant capital raising projects.

David Carnell
Senior Advisor, Corporate Finance

David has more than 40 years’ experience in international banking and finance, corporate advice, intellectual property licensing and application, renewable energy, waste water, food production, healthcare, private family offices and many other industries.

Joseph Tse
Director, Special Projects, Hong Kong

Joseph has had a long career as an entrepreneur and business adviser to Governments, public and private companies in Hong Kong, China and Australia. He has extensive knowledge and experience, particularly in IT, software, telecommunications, Internet, Fintech and the technology sectors.

Joseph obtained a Computer Science Degree in Canada and worked for 8 years with the Hong Kong Airport Authority as an IT Manager, managing the delivery of IT Airport Systems. He also worked as a General Manager in a prestigious Hong Kong telecom company before its listing in late 2006. Since 2007, Joseph has owned and operated a consulting business guiding Hong Kong, American and Japanese technology companies in developing their businesses in the Chinese and Asian markets.

In 2017, Joseph returned to Australia to pursue his passion to develop new partnerships between Australian and Chinese enterprises. Joseph has joined BlueMount to assist ambitious Chinese companies enter Australia as a stepping stone to launch their global business platform, including IPOs, M&A, and the acquisition of premium brands.

Dr Darren J Grubb
Senior Advisor – Innovation & Life Sciences

Dr Grubb carries more than 20 years expertise in the Venture Capital, Funds Management and Life Science sector, encompassing funding, corporate strategies, clinical and operational planning, budgeting, M&A, and many other capabilities required for start-up and small to medium sized enterprises.

Previously, he held positions with IB Managers, Intersuisse, the Queensland BioCapital Fund and the Queensland Investment Corporation, as well as executive roles with various emerging life science companies. Notably, Dr Grubb engaged with the executives and the board of various innovation companies, leading to the execution of positive funding outcomes or enhanced corporate activities.

Dr Grubb has a PhD from Melbourne University, an MBA from the Queensland University of Technology and a Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance.

Dr Rob Kozma
Senior Advisor, Molecular & Cell Biology and Genetics

Rob has more than 30 years’ experience in molecular and cell biology and genetics. His roles have included research and development, business development, intellectual property licensing, commercialization of spin-off companies from universities including Oxford, Imperial College, UCL and national research institutions including the Genome Institute, A*Star and the National University Hospital (NUH) Singapore.

Geoff Small
Senior Advisor, Renewable Energy, Base Oils & Steel

Geoff has more than 30 years’ international experience in base oils, steel, biofuels, renewable energy and wastewater treatment industries. His roles have included raw material procurement, production planning and control, research and development, sales and marketing, capital works management and intellectual property development and deployment.

Geoff Dale
Senior Advisor, Strategy & Business Performance

Geoff specialises in helping businesses achieve sustainable results in any environment. His approach is focused on the combination of key business performance attributes of any successful organisation – Embracing Change, Strategic Focus, with a strong Operating System, and line-of-sight Accountability for Delivering Results.

By acting as personal advisor to Directors, CEOs and senior leaders, Geoff focuses on the best ways to implement and operationalise change and strategic business thinking to achieve exceptional results.

Previously, Geoff held senior global leadership roles in GE, one of the world’s ‘most admired companies’ – a business environment that demanded results. In these roles, he was involved with some of the best global thinking on business performance.

In recent times, he has been engaged in assignments involving change leadership, strategy development, building a shared culture, business simplification, outsourcing and shared services, creating a global procurement hub, improving performance review processes, improving Board Reporting and facilitating board and management annual strategy session, to mention a few.

Amiel Kornel
Senior Advisor, Venture Capital & Private Equity

Amiel Kornel, an experienced venture capitalist, board director and entrepreneur, has co-founded, financed and/or advised dozens of early and growth-stage ventures in the US and Europe. Industry sectors have included digital publishing, enterprise search, social media, and online marketplaces, among others.

Amiel served as senior managing director at a US venture capital firm for more than a decade, during which time the firm raised and deployed over US$500 million in high-tech businesses and engineered exits of over US$1.2 Billion. As a consultant to Boards and senior executives, Amiel has helped more than a dozen Global 500 firms design venture accelerator programs and launch new businesses. Working with medium sized high-tech clients, he has helped founders shape product positioning, go-to-market strategy and strategic alliances.

Amiel recently authored Spinning into Control: Improvising the sustainable startup (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), a book on new venture creation, and regularly publishes articles on entrepreneurship and corporate venturing. A former journalist, he has reported and edited articles on business, science and technology for the International Herald Tribune, The Economist, ComputerWorld, Le Monde Informatique, and Paris Innovation Review, among other publications.

Amiel received a BA in Biological Sciences from the University of Chicago and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he was Student Editor of The Sloan Management Review. Amiel and his wife currently divide their time between homes in San Francisco and Paris. A US, UK and Swiss national, he speaks fluent English and French.

Yajun (Devon) Li
Business Consultant

Yajun successfully completed her Master’s Degree in Accounting and International Finance at Deakin University, graduating in 2018.

Yajun is currently undertaking a wide variety of international investment banking, Corporate Advisory and Business consulting activities which are occurring in Australia, China and New Zealand.

Working directly with the BlueMount Capital Group’s National Chairman, Yajun is responsible for management of the encrypted data base/information storage used in Melbourne Office, and she is also responsible for the preparation of all Mandates, external corporate presentations such as investment flyers, Information Memoranda and oversees several Virtual Data Rooms. She is also involved in many current BlueMount Capital projects, directly participating in meetings with senior executives of our clients and provides practical business strategies, such as risk analysis, security analysis and financial analysis etc. In China she has a most important role directly supporting the Executive President of our Beijing based Joint Venture with timely business analysis, preparation of financial budgets, monitoring/reporting, negotiation support and actioning. More recently she sourced a leading Chinese manufacturer of specialist medical devices which are used in COVID19 antibody testing.

Additionally, Yajun, who speaks fluent Chinese and English, actively supports the Managing Director of the Melbourne office with various assignments in New Zealand and Australia. She has strong interest in China stock markets, trading and cross border business flows between China and Australia.

Consultant Legal Counsel

Peter Nevile – B. Juris & L.L.B.
Senior Legal Counsel

Peter has practiced law for more than 45 years primarily in the commercial corporate areas with a significant involvement with inbound investment from a number of countries especially China. He has dealt with joint ventures, complex commercial arrangements and negotiations as well as advising on the acquisition and sale of numerous major business transactions, including hotels, hospitals, international engineering firms, agribusinesses and wineries. Peter also presently advises a number of start-up companies in the biomedical and technology areas and advises a number of charities and not for profit organisations.

Peter and his company have many years of experience in serving clients in China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Dubai, Italy and the United States of America.