Bruce Blakeman, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Asia-Pacific, Cargill; Chester Toh, Partner, Rajah & Tann LLP and Director, Rajah & Tann NK Legal Myanmar Company Limited; Steve Wilford, Senior Partner, Asia Pacific, Global Risk Analysis, Control Risks Group; and Judith Fergin, Executive Director, AmCham Singapore (Moderator)
Celebrating its 15th year, the ASEAN Business Outlook Survey
has been the key barometer of U.S. business sentiment in Southeast Asia by examining insights of senior leaders of American companies located across the region. Executives from both American and foreign enterprises as well as thought leaders from governments, academia, and non-government organizations across ASEAN rely on the survey to understand the opportunities and challenges for American businesses across the region.
This session will cover the results of the 2017 ASEAN Business Outlook Survey that will have been released days prior to the panel. Expert panelists on Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam will discuss the results and take a closer look at some of the underlying reasons behind the results. About the PanelistsBruce Blakeman
Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Asia-Pacific
Bruce Blakeman is the Vice President for Corporate Affairs in the Asia-Pacific region for Cargill stationed in Singapore. His responsibilities include managing government relations, stakeholder management, M&A, internal & external communications, issues management, and corporate social responsibility activities in the Asia-Pacific region (including Indonesia).
Prior to joining Cargill in October 2005, Bruce served four years as a Presidential Appointee in the Bush Administration. He was first appointed as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Department of Commerce where he ran the domestic operations of the U.S. Commercial Service (2001-2003). He was then asked to serve as the Secretary of Commerce Donald Evan's special envoy to China stationed in the Beijing Embassy where he served for two years (2003-2005).
Before joining the government, Bruce was a Senior Vice President for Wirthlin Worldwide, living in Washington, D.C., Singapore and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Wirthlin Worldwide was a global communications & branding strategy consultancy and political consulting firm headed by President Ronald Reagan's chief strategist, Dr. Richard Wirthlin.
Bruce is from Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA and grew up on a blueberry farm.Steve Wilford
Senior Partner, Global Risk Analysis, Asia Pacific
Control Risks Group
Steve is a Senior Partner for Asia-Pacific in Control Risks’ Global Risk Analysis team, in which role he leads a group of specialists conducting country, sector and regulatory risk assessment work. Prior to this, Steve was the Director of Corporate Investigations for South East Asia. This remit encompassed joint venture partner/new purchase due diligence, litigation support, discreet enquiries and broader national, provincial and micro-scale political and regulatory risk analysis.
Steve’s recent consulting experience includes designing and executing numerous joint-venture risk assessments in complex jurisdictions, such as Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia; conducting a highly sensitive investigation into government-linked corruption allegations surrounding a major multinational facing sanction by an international financial institution; investigating extortion against a major US multinational; and advising multinationals on pre-entry and operational policy for hostile environments in Asia, including in the oil and gas, telecommunications, non-governmental and manufacturing industries.
Steve is a regular BBC, CNN, CNBC, radio and print media commentator on trends in insurgency, political succession, corporate governance and threats to business assets in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as a frequent presenter at regional risk management conferences.
In a long career with Control Risks, Steve variously set up and ran Control Risks’ first operational presence in India, managed the South-East Asia business development team, ran the Jakarta office’s Corporate Investigations practice and spent several years as the company’s South-East Asia analyst. He holds a master of philosophy in international relations from the University of Oxford, and a first-class honors degree in South-East Asian studies and language from the University of Hull, where he specialized in Thai military politics and Malaysian corporate governance issues.Chester Toh
Partner, Rajah & Tann LLP
Director, Rajah & Tann NK Legal Myanmar Company Limited
Chester co-heads the Myanmar Practice of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP and oversees the firm’s Yangon office. He regularly advises multinationals and Asian corporates on investing in Myanmar and has been involved in numerous projects in the country. Clients routinely turn to Chester for regulatory risk assessment when investing in frontier economies.
Having practiced in London, Hong Kong, China and Singapore, Chester has a wealth of experience in merger control and foreign investment approvals. He has advised on a number of applications to the Myanmar Investment Commission, including some of the most high-profile investments into Myanmar.
At the same time, Chester heads up the Firm’s Integrated Regulatory Practice. He has an active practice advising governments on the drafting of regulations and running procurement exercises for large scale infrastructure projects.
Chester is ranked as a "leading lawyer" in Myanmar by the International Financial Law Review
. About the ModeratorJudith Fergin
Judith leads the Chamber. She is responsible for managing the executive office and, together with the Board, committee members, and other Chamber members, for developing and implementing AmCham’s programs and strategies.
Most recently the U.S. Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Judith brings a wealth of experience to the position. A career Foreign Service Officer, she previously served as the U.S. Consul General in Sydney, Australia, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore, and Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassies in Jakarta and Canberra. Judith also served in Moscow, Russia; Pretoria, South Africa; Monrovia, Liberia; Munich, Germany; and Washington, D.C. In all her overseas positions, she worked closely with the American business communities to create opportunities, promote U.S. exports, and expand commercial ties between the United States and the host country.
Judith received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College. She holds a Master of Arts degree in comparative government from the University of Virginia and a Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces of the U.S. National Defense University.