Secretariat

From its office in Singapore, the FIA Secretariat oversees the operation of all membership services and communications. For more information on how the FIA Secretariat is structured, click here.

Executive Director

Matt Kovac

Matt Kovac Matt is the Executive Director at Food Industry Asia (FIA), the food industry’s first regional industry platform for major food & beverage companies. He reports to a non-profit board of regional CEOs from multinational food and drink companies.

Matt, with a dedicated team of 13 secretariat staff, is responsible for delivering impactful policy outcomes in nutrition, food safety and regional trade across Asia through the establishment of multi-stakeholder platforms and capacity building projects on areas related to health and nutrition, food security, trade liberalisation and regulatory harmonisation. This is done through forging sustainable partnerships with a variety of government agencies, regulators, academia, NGOs and IGOs.

Matt is a seasoned corporate affairs professional with more than 18 years of experience specialising in stakeholder relations, policy analysis, government relations and journalism.

Originally from the UK, Matt has spent 13 years in Asia living in China, Taiwan and Singapore. He holds an MBA at the UK’s Lancaster University Management School.
Head of Communications

Edwin Seah

Edwin Seah Edwin joins with the dual responsibility of leading communications and driving FIA’s sustainability agenda, having had significant experience in both areas. His career, which spans over 20 years and covers the private, public and non-profit sectors, has seen him take on roles in policy development, corporate communications, advocacy, and stakeholder engagement.

Prior to joining FIA, and with industry experience in tourism, urban & environmental sustainability, energy, and manufacturing, he was head of an environmental NGO at the forefront of fighting the regional haze, while working with government agencies, schools and corporations to promote eco-labelling, recycling and other environmental issues. Before this, he was their Director of Communications; he also served in a senior corporate communications role with the Energy Market Authority in Singapore.

Edwin was nominated for Singaporean of the Year in 2016 by the media, for his role in leading the fight against the haze that engulfed Singapore and several Southeast Asian countries in 2015; shortly before that, he became the first Southeast Asian elected to the Board of the Global Eco-labelling Network, an international network of national eco-labelling organisations. Edwin is a Singaporean, and read Economics at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in the USA.
Finance & Human Resources Manager

Joana Ooi

Joana Ooi Joana is a key member of the FIA team and manages the finance function which includes the preparation and management of FIA’s budget and all human resources activities including the recruitment and on-boarding of all new employees.

Joana has been with FIA since January 2013 and has extensive finance and administrative experience and skills. Prior to joining FIA, she was the Finance and Operations Controller for Canalys Pte. Ltd., a UK based research company where she supported the start-up of their operations in Asia in 2006. Joana started her career as a Quality Assurance Supervisor for a Japanese multi-national and has worked for Singapore Telecom and Acacia IT Services in previous roles.

Joana, a Singaporean, graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce (Marketing, E-Business and Information Systems) from the University of Western Australia.
Food Safety Manager

Nicola Bonnefoy

Nicola Bonnefoy Nicola joined the FIA team in April 2017, she has extensive experience in food regulations and Food Safety Management. As the Quality Assurance Manager for McDonald’s Australia Nicola was responsible for coordinating and driving Food Safety and Quality initiatives within the restaurants and was the key contact with Health Departments and State Agencies. Prior to working for McDonald’s Nicola worked with the New South Wales Food Authority in Australia as a project Manager responsible for piloting the food hygiene system ‘Scores on Doors’.

While working with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority she drafted various Codes of Practices and Regulation No.6 Food Hygiene throughout the food chain for review by the Scientific committee. Nicola also worked for the Food Safety Authority of Ireland where she was responsible for the daily management of the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASSF) in Ireland.

Nicola is from Ireland and holds a Masters in European Food Regulatory Affairs from the University of Ulster.
Nutrition Officer

Sabeera Ali

Sabeera is FIA’s first nutritionist, having been accredited by the Association for Nutrition in the United Kingdom. Starting as an intern, Sabeera has worked with FIA since August 2015, providing research on a number of critical areas related to the association’s Health & Nutrition agenda. She supports FIA’s work in the areas of nutrition profiling, nutrition labelling and sweeteners, contributing to projects such as issues management and the development of science-based materials.

Sabeera provides support to the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN) by maintaining the ARoFIIN databank, as well as screening and updating all available material related to obesity in Asia. She is also involved in the planning and execution of ARoFIIN events and activities in the ASEAN region.

Sabeera, a Singaporean, is a recent graduate of Liverpool John Moores University, and holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree in Community Nutrition (Public Health).
Regional Policy Officer

Samantha Wong

Samantha supports the development and implementation of FIA’s long-term advocacy strategy and the delivery of key policy objectives. Working closely with the policy team, she coordinates the design and delivery of appropriate communication tools and statements to address emerging issues in the areas of nutrition labelling, nutrient profiling, taxation, sweeteners and marketing to children. She also monitors and analyses critical industry trends, activities and policies related to the association’s Health and Nutrition agenda both in Asia and globally.

Prior to joining FIA, Samantha was a Nutrition Consultant Intern with ibn360. She provided support by conducting desk reviews on the nutrition landscape in Asia, including selected ASEAN countries and India. Further to the analytical research and editorial contributions for fortification studies and malnutrition reports, she liaised with key stakeholders for events and workshops to drive the dialogue on health and nutrition in Asia.

Samantha, a Singaporean, graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Food Science and Nutrition.
Information Communications Executive

Desmond Lau

Desmond Lau Desmond joined the FIA team in May 2015 and has the vital responsibility of making sure all our IT systems, including email, servers and websites, run smoothly without any major disruptions.

Desmond is an IT professional who counts more than 10 years’ experience working with and supporting SME companies with their IT requirements. He is proficient in hardware, software, operating systems and also conducts end-user training on software, simple office tools and computer systems. In addition to his regular duties of managing FIA’s IT systems, Desmond will be assisting the Communications team on Audio Visual, IT and Website Management.

Desmond, who is Singaporean, has a Diploma in Computer Studies from NCC Education, Singapore.
Event Coordinator

Fateha Noraznee

Fateha Fateha joined FIA in November 2017 and helps coordinate and execute a full range of events and meetings. She also supports the day-to-day management of the FIA membership database and website updates.

Prior to joining FIA, Fateha was an Events Marketing Executive at SingEx Exhibitions Pte Ltd in the eCommerce and Logistics Cluster. She was responsible for organising a number of events by coordinating and liaising with the media, supporting organisations and vendors.

Fateha, a Singaporean, has a Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism, specializing in M.I.C.E from Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore.
POLICY DIRECTOR

Steven Bartholomeusz

Steven BartholomeuszSteven leads all policy and advocacy efforts to deliver FIA’s value proposition to its members and other stakeholders, and has developed an engagement strategy that has seen more opportunities to position FIA as a thought leader and drive interaction with its members.
As part of the advocacy efforts, Steven drives the issues and stakeholder management strategy for FIA and has successfully implemented a robust management process that sees regular issues scanning and the development of issue and position papers to present the food industry’s position on developments such as obesity and non-communicable disease, sugar tax, marketing to children and nutrition labelling.
He is an experienced writer who has contributed thought leadership to the food industry’s position on issues such as sugar tax, labelling and public-private partnerships to drive better nutrition, in the local and regional media.

Steven is an experienced corporate affairs professional with over 16 years international and regional experience managing issues and stakeholders and delivering communications strategy in the oil and gas industry, hydropower and public utilities, and more recently the food and beverage industry. Prior to this he spent three years as the news manager for a private radio station in Sri Lanka and a correspondent for the Voice of America.

Steven is originally from Sri Lanka and has a B.A in Mass Communication (Broadcasting) from Winona State University, Minnesota, USA.
Head of Science & Regulatory Affairs

YiFan Jiang

YiFan JiangYiFan joined the FIA team in January 2016 following a stint of three and a half years with EAS Strategies where she was a Regulatory Affairs Advisor. 

YiFan has valuable regulatory experience that has helped clients entering Asian markets, particularly Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. She was previously Regulatory Affairs Advisor of the International Alliance of Dietary / Food Supplement Associations (IADSA), where she played a key role in pushing for harmonisation of standards, both regionally and globally. She also represented IADSA in discussions with the Codex Alimentarius Commission by providing global industry data and advocating for industry’s position. 

A Chinese national, YiFan holds a degree in Applied Science majoring in Food Science and Technology from the National University of Singapore.
Regulatory Affairs Assistant Manager

Teresa Lo

Teresa manages FIA’s workstream on the harmonisation of food trade standards, through the monitoring of regulatory developments and the facilitation of relevant research projects and agendas. She leads the ASEAN Food and Beverage Alliance (AFBA), a network of food & beverage national associations in Southeast Asia. Prior to joining FIA, Teresa served as an in-house regulatory specialist with KH Roberts Pte Ltd, focusing on the use of flavourings and additives in key Southeast Asian markets. She also has experience in halal and kosher certification schemes.

Teresa is originally from Malaysia, and graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with a degree in Applied Science, majoring in Food Science and Technology.
Assistant Manager, Communications

Amelia Chong

Amelia has broad communications experience spanning nine years and roles in three countries. She has specialised in areas that include journalism, advertising, graphic design and most recently, strategic communications in the agriculture sector.

Prior to joining FIA, Amelia worked in Monsanto’s Corporate Engagement department at the company’s headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. As a member of the internal communications and societal content teams, Amelia worked with stakeholders across the globe to develop communications plans and materials for local and international audiences; wrote and edited content for news and social media platforms, blogs and mobile apps; and planned and produced photos, graphics and videos for milestones and major events within the company and in its contributions to the St. Louis community.

In addition to her bachelor’s degree from the Indiana University School of Journalism (now the Media School), Amelia, who is Singaporean, holds a Diploma in Visual Communication from Temasek Polytechnic and a Professional Certificate in Public Relations and Mass Communication from the Institute of Public Relations of Singapore. Amelia is passionate about documentary storytelling. She has won multiple awards, including honours from the Society of Professional Journalists, for her work as a reporter and visual journalist.
Events & membership manager

Joaquim Tan

Joaquim TanJoaquim joined FIA in April 2015 and supports the day-to-day management of our membership database and helps coordinate and manage a full range of events and meetings. She has extensive experience of delivering high quality events and services for large non-profit entities and their members in Singapore.

Prior to joining FIA, Joaquim was an Events Services Executive with the Marketing Institute of Singapore and the Singapore Manufacturing Federation. In her previous roles, Joaquim was responsible for maintaining and implementing a comprehensive planning system that enabled efficient delivery of meetings, conferences, gala dinners and CSR activities. 

Joaquim, who is Singaporean, graduated Cum Laude from the University at Buffalo, Singapore with a double major in Bachelor of Communication and Psychology and she has an IT Diploma from Nanyang Polytechnic.
Regulatory Affairs Executive

Zyon Toh

Zyon Toh Zyon supports work of the FIA in identifying and analysing dynamic regulatory issues that influence the climate on food safety, health and nutrition, and harmonisation of standards for the food industry.

Since 2005, Zyon has continuously developed knowledge and skills in the field of Food Science and Technology. In 2014, he developed study into the understanding of functional foods in consumers. In the same year, he carried out research on gluten-free food. He has prior work experience in the F&B sector, where he was a Food Technology Executive. Zyon had also constantly worked in project management where he was able to work independently and attend to different stakeholders.

Zyon, a Singaporean, is a member of the Singapore Institute of Food Science and Technology (SIFST). He holds a Bachelor (Honours) Degree in Food Technology, with a major in Food Product Technology, from the Massey University.
Executive Assistant/Office Manager

Catherine Phua

Catherine Phua Catherine joins us from EDG Asia Pacific Limited where, as Office Manager, she held a broad number of responsibilities between 2010 and 2015, including the setting up and closing of the company. During this time, Catherine provided direct support to the Managing Director, CEO and Chief Financial Officer as well as coordinating other office and admin activities.

Prior to joining EDG, Catherine spent six years at the Carlton Hotel in Singapore where she was the Guest Relations Manager (Front Office). In this role, she was responsible for managing the Executive Business Lounge, supporting VIP guests and training and managing a team of guest relations staff.

Catherine, a Singaporean, holds a diploma in Tourism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and has a long list of professional accomplishments in customer service.