Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb today announced Rio Tinto CEO Mr Sam Walsh had agreed to be the new Australian co-chair of the Australia-India CEO Forum.

During the visit by Prime Minister Modi to Australia in November, Mr Modi and Prime Minister Tony Abbott agreed to revitalise the Forum, which was established in 2011.

“I am extremely pleased that one of Australia’s foremost businessmen, Sam Walsh, has agreed to take on this critical role,” Mr Robb said.

Mr Robb said he was delighted that the Chairman of the Adani Group, Gautam Adani, would be the Indian co-chair.

“Strong links between Australia’s and India’s top business leaders are vital to unlocking the untapped potential of the Australia-India trade and investment relationship," he said.

Mr Walsh said he was honoured to accept Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s invitation to chair the Forum.

“Rio Tinto has long recognised that India has the people, geography, and political frameworks to be a powerhouse economic force. India has a very exciting future and I look forward to playing a part in developing new investment opportunities in this vibrant nation,” he said. “I will be working hard with Gautam Adani to enhance and further invigorate the business relationships between India and Australia. There is vast potential for greater collaboration between our two nations.”

Mr Adani welcomed the leadership Prime Ministers Modi and Abbott had shown in prioritising greatly-enhanced bilateral ties between Australia and India. "It is an honour to play a role in enhancing this vital partnership. India has no more reliable friend or partner than Australia, which is showing its clear intention to help power India's future," he said. "The Adani Group, for its part, is building a long term future with Queensland, and Australia, while looking to deliver energy security in India. Our commitment to delivering nation building infrastructure in Australia is key to our commitment to delivering nation building infrastructure in India. "

The forum includes Australia and Indian business chiefs from a broad range of sectors, including energy and resources, agribusiness, the financial sector, telecommunications, IT, education and pharmaceuticals.

The revitalised Australia-India CEO Forum is expected to hold its first meeting by the middle of the year.

Australia-India CEO Forum

Australian members

• Mr Sam Walsh, Chief Executive Officer, Rio Tinto Group – Co-Chairperson

• Mr Peter Coleman, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Woodside Petroleum

• Mr Dean Dalla Valle, President BHP Billiton Coal, BHP Billiton

• Mr Andy Goodwin, Chief Executive Officer, SMEC

• Ms Vanessa Guthrie, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Toro Energy

• Professor Sandra Harding, Chair, Universities Australia

• Mr Gary Helou, Managing Director, Devondale Murray Goulburn

• Mr Brian Kruger, Managing Director, Toll Holdings

• Mr Nicholas Moore, Chief Executive Officer, Macquarie Group

• Mr Anthony Pratt, Chairman and CEO of Pratt Industries and Global Chairman of Visy Industries

• Mr Michael Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

• Mr David Thodey, Chief Executive Officer (Telstra)

• Mr Michael Wilkins, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Insurance Australia Group

Indian Members

• Mr Gautam Adani, Chairman, Adani Group – Co-Chairperson

• Mr Anup Agarwalla, Managing Director, BLA Industries Pvt Ltd

• Mr Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director, Reliance Industries Ltd

• Mrs Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman, SBI

• Mr Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO & Managing Director, Tata Consultancy Services

• Mr Arun Kumar Jagatramka, Chairman & Managing Director, Gujarat NRE Coke Ltd

• Mr Nitish Jain, President & Director, S P Jain School of Global Management

• Professor Anurag Kumar, Director, Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore

• Mr Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group

• Professor Indranil Manna, Director, IIT, Kanpur

• Mr Sudhir Mehta, Chairman Emeritus, Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd

• Mr Shiv Nadar, Founder & Chairman, HCL Technologies

• Mr B P Rao, Chairman & Managing Director, BHEL

• Mr L Madhusudhan Rao, Chairman, Lanco Infratech Ltd

• Mr Shashi Ruia, Chairman, Essar Group

• Mr Dinesh K Sarraf, Chairman and Managing Director, ONGC Ltd

Media enquiries

  • Trade Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7420
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555