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


Ashok Jacob

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

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.

Deputy Chair

Mr Barry O'Farrell

The Hon. Barry O’Farrell, Independent President and Board Chair of Diabetes Australia (NSW)

Mr O’Farrell was a member of the New South Wales Parliament from 1995 until 2015 and served as the Premier of New South Wales from 2011 until 2014. Mr O’Farrell initiated and led annual trade missions to India to promote and grow economic, cultural and social links between New South Wales and the states of India.

In 2012 his government established a Sister State relationship between New South Wales and the Indian state of Maharashtra. In 2013 during a visit to India Mr O’Farrell began work towards a similar agreement with Gujarat at a meeting with then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

In October 2016 Mr O’Farrell was appointed as the Special Envoy for the NSW-India Relationship.

Mr O’Farrell is currently the Independent President and Board Chair of Diabetes Australia.


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. Mr 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 (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.

Mr Michael Kasprowicz, Director of Venture India (QLD)

Michael Kasprowicz has uniquely established himself as a leading business professional specialising in the business of sport.

Following his 19 year career as a professional cricketer, Michael completed his MBA at the University of Queensland and developed Venture India, a consulting company specialising in business with India.

Michael is a non-Executive Director on the independent Board of Cricket Australia and has been active in the governance of the national body for the past decade. In 2016, Michael served as the interim Chief Executive Officer of Queensland Cricket before returning to the Cricket Australia Board.

Michael combines his experiences as an athlete, director and administrator of one of Australia’s largest sports to bring a truly unique perspective to the challenges both sporting and non-sporting organisations.

Ms Sheba Nandkeolyar, CEO, Multiconnexions (NSW)

Ms Nandkeolyar was the former National Chair of the Australia India Business Council (AIBC), the peak body for diaspora and small and medium enterprises engaging with India.

She is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Multiconnexions Pty Ltd.

Ms Nandkeolyar holds a Masters of Business Administration from Calcutta University.

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.

Sanushka Seomangal, Special Counsel, 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.

Last Updated: 27 June 2019