Media Release: ACBC announces appointment of Russell Thomas as Chief Executive Officer

10 Dec 2020

The Australia China Business Council (ACBC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Russell Thomas as its new National Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Mr Thomas commences on 9 December 2020.

Mr Thomas joins ACBC with a strong background in leading member-based organisations having been the CEO and Managing Director of Australia’s leading professional body for financial services, the Financial Services Institute of Australia (Finsia), for over 5 years where he was responsible for its transformation strategy across its national network. He also has an extensive professional background in policy and advocacy focussed on the Australia-China economic relationship and has lived and studied in China for several years.

National President and Chairman of the ACBC, Mr David Olsson said, “we are thrilled to have a CEO of Russell’s calibre to lead the organisation. With his strategic and commercial capabilities, his appreciation of the rapidly changing dynamics of our region and his wealth of experience in running a federated member-based organisation, he will ensure that ACBC maintains its instrumental role in representing Australian business and promoting our members’ continued commitment to China and the region.”

Mr Thomas said “I am excited to be joining the ACBC as Chief Executive Officer at this crucial juncture in Australia-China relations.  Boosting trade and investment links as part of Australia’s post-pandemic economic recovery has never been more important.  With its unrivalled network of branches in every capital city in Australia and access to the latest insights and deepest networks, ACBC is uniquely placed to continue to build a strong future for Australian business engaged with China. My focus will be on delivering the best possible service to our members and to representing their interests in a way which supports their long-term success.”


Mr Thomas has lived and studied in China and is now based Sydney. He holds a Bachelor of Laws/Arts (University of Melbourne), Master of Laws (University of Sydney) and MBA (Tsinghua University & INSEAD). He is currently finalising a doctoral thesis at University of Sydney focussed on “Australia’s approach to Industry Policy in a new era of strategic competition”. He is the Founder and Director of a consultancy focussed on high-speed transport, health services and aged care, the former CEO and MD of Finsia (2011-2016), its Director of Policy and Professional Development (2009-2011) and its Senior Policy Advisor (2005-2007).

About the Australia China Business Council

The Australia China Business Council (ACBC) is a membership-based, non-profit, non-governmental organisation comprised of over 700 member companies and over 20,000 subscribers engaged in bilateral trade and investment.  Founded in 1973, the ACBC actively promotes two-way trade and investment by promoting Australia’s capabilities and resources through constructive and sustainable Australia China trade and investment relations for the benefit of our members and the Australian community.

For more information contact:
National President David Olsson
National CEO Russell Thomas