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 Sustainability & 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 Manager

Judy Chee

Judy Chee Judy manages the finance function at FIA, which includes the preparation of FIA’s budget, as well as providing support for financial planning and strategy and other management issues.

Judy joined the FIA team in August 2018 and has extensive finance and administration work experience. Prior to joining FIA, Judy was part of the Special Olympics Singapore, a non-profit organization, where she was in charge of finance, admin and fund-raising activities. Judy started her career at one of the big four accounting firms and went on to take a regional role as finance and administration manager with a European MNC.

Judy, a Singaporean, graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy from the National University of Singapore (NUS) is a Chartered Accountant (Singapore).
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.
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.
Events & membership manager

Joaquim Tan

Joaquim TanJoaquim joined FIA in April 2015 and manages the full suite of FIA's regional engagements, meetings, events and marketing communications along with the day-to-day FIA membership database. 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.
Regulatory and Food Safety Officer

Rachel Wong

Rachel Wong Rachel joined FIA in October 2018 and is in charge of coordinating capacity building programmes and research projects that strengthens the priorities in FIA in regulatory harmonisation and food safety in the region.

Prior to joining FIA, Rachel performed her industrial training in Greenfarm Food Industries Pte Ltd, focusing on implementing and maintaining a quality assurance system in the manufacturing plant. She also has ample experience in implementing the JAKIM and MUI halal management systems during her industrial trainings.

Rachel, a Malaysian, graduated from the University of Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) with a Degree in Food Science, majoring in Food Technology.
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.
Event Coordinator

Shannon Lim

Catherine Phua Shannon joined the FIA team in September 2018 and helps to coordinate and execute a full range of FIA events and meetings. She also supports the day-to-day management of the FIA membership database and website updates.

Prior to joining FIA, Shannon was working part-time in the F&B and events industry where she has developed customer service skills as well as exposure to handling different types of events.

Shannon, a Singaporean, is currently pursuing a double major degree in Tourism Events and Marketing at Murdoch University, Singapore. As part of her degree, she has been involved in various research studies on international mega-events, ranging from sport events to conferences.