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ANNABEL COTTON, Director, Merlin Consulting

A long-standing IR professional, Annabel’s roles span both the corporate and consulting environment. In her early career she established the IR functions at two of New Zealand’s largest companies being Telecom NZ following their IPO in 1991 and Air New Zealand Limited. Of more recent times she has held directorships and audit committee memberships across a number of New Zealand companies. She has been instrumental in increasing the profile of investor relations in New Zealand. Before AIRA, Annabel convened a number of informal luncheons for investor relations professionals to network and share ideas and experiences and since the establishment of AIRA she has been a key contributor to AIRA’s half-day New Zealand IR forum providing input on the programme, speaking at the event, sourcing speakers, marketing and providing introductions to key contacts at the Securities Commission, media and buy and sell-side representatives. Annabel joined the AIRA Board in 2012 representing New Zealand companies and the NZ IR community.

JOHN HOBSON, Head of Capital Markets, AGL Energy Limited

John has more than 20 years’ experience in the finance industry as an IRO, an equity analyst and fund manager having worked in Australia, Hong Kong and New York. John is very well connected within the IR community and is highly regarded by his management team, his peers, buy and sell-side analysts & fund managers and his fellow IR practitioners. He is an avid supporter of AIRA having served on the Board for close to two terms where he was chairman from 2009 to 2011. He is a regular speaker at AIRA events, including its annual conference, a highly engaged contributor at lunches and dinners and has given countless hours of his time to participate in industry discussions to ensure the profession continues to evolve and that listed companies are correctly represented on IR and capital markets related issues.

JOHN KNOWLES, Senior Vice President, Investor Relations, Aurizon Holdings Limited

With an IR career spanning nearly 20 years John is a seasoned IR professional having worked in both corporate and for a short-time consulting roles. Prior to Aurizon he spent the best part of 25 years in the resources sector having been involved with the Rio takeover of North Limited and then his appointment as the inaugural IRO at Bluescope Steel Limited following its demerger from BHP Billiton in 2002.   John was a founding director of AIRA who was actively involved in AIRA’s transition from individual to corporate membership and also the development of AIRA’s Diploma of Investor Relations course. He is a regular contributor and host of AIRA’s chapter lunches and contributor at senior IRO dinners and is a regular at AIRA Brisbane-based get-togethers.

SEAN O’SULLIVAN, Vice President, Investor & Media Relations, James Hardie Industries NV 

Sean is highly regarded amongst his peers and the IR community for his integrity and zest for the industry. In his career, Sean has developed the IR function at St George, overseen the St George takeover by Westpac and has managed significant asbestos related issues at James Hardie. He has been a long standing member of AIRA both in his current and previous roles and is always keen to step-up and participate when he is asked. Sean was a speaker at AIRA’s 2013 annual conference and is a key contributor at lunches and dinners hosted by AIRA. He has received a number of accolades from market participants through his nominations and winning at AIRA’s Best Practice Investor Relations Awards and the Ross Carmichael Singer research where he is named across numerous IR categories.

JEFF ROSS, Partner, Ross Carmichael Singer

Jeff has a 22 year history with IROs and the investor relations industry as one of the co-founders of Ross Carmichael Singer the provider of the Corporate Confidence Index (CCI), one of the most reliable and trusted quantitative investor sentiment research studies available to listed companies in Australia and New Zealand. Jeff is responsible for all presentations to clients, including walking management through their biannual or annual reports. Ross Carmichael Singer, through Jeff is a long serving Supporting Member of AIRA and a strong believer of the Association and in continuing to develop the practice of investor relations across Australasian companies. We wish Jeff every success in his retirement and would like to thank him for his contribution to the industry!