Founding Associates



Luc (1960) has 17 years experience at country manager level with Philip Morris and British American Tobacco in Africa and South East Asia.

Among many other activities, Luc launched BAT operations in Myanmar in 1993. He was also General Manager for BAT Thailand until the end of 2003.

Born in Belgium, Luc holds an MBA (1988) from INSEAD, Fontainebleau and is a graduate (1982) of IAG (University of Louvain, Belgium).

Luc is a regular speaker at regional conferences on the role responsible businesses can play in the development of Myanmar.

Since April 2017 Luc serves as the Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Belgium in Myanmar.

Whenever Luc has free time he likes to travel the less frequented roads of South East Asia on his motorbike or dive to enjoy the quiet beauty of the underwater world.


U Min Sein (1946) is the founder and managing partner of a flourishing legal and financial consultancy with offices in Myanmar and Singapore.

U Min Sein (Michael) is Advocate of the Supreme Court as well as a legal advisor and business consultant to many leading local and foreign companies: PTTEP (Thailnd), Myanmar Brewery Limited (MBL - JV with Asia Pacific Breweries Limited), Toyota Tsucho Company Limited, Chatrium Hotel, Park Royal Hotel, and EXE Sakura Company Limited.

Michael is also the legal advisor to the French and Italian Embassies in Yangon, U Hla Tun Auditors (ex Price Waterhouse Myanmar), and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Switzerland).

Michael is a board member of the Myanmar Times, the leading English newspaper in Myanmar and a committee member of the U Hla Tun Hospice (Cancer) Foundation.

U Min Sein graduated with a B.Sc. degree in English, Physics, Chemistry and Pure Mathematics. He is Registered Accountant (R.A.) as well as a CPA.

Michael is an avid golfer and a member of the Yangon Golf Club.


Dr. JP Verbiest (1950) is currently a principal for the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI, Tokyo). He co-authored the Myanmar Country Paper (November 2011), part of the “ASEAN 2030: Growing Together For Economic Prosperity” study. Previously JP held several senior positions with the ADB including Manager, Strategy and Policy Department, Assistant Chief Economist (Macro-economics and Finance) and Country Director in Vietnam (1996-2000) and Thailand (2005-2010).

JP currently lives in Bangkok and has been based in Southeast Asia for over 30 years. His principal research interests are macroeconomic policies in East and Southeast Asian countries and regional economic and financial cooperation and integration in Asia.

JP holds a BA in economics and finance from FUCAM in Mons (Belgium), a MSC in Econometrics from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB, Belgium) and a doctorate in economics from Oxford University (UK).

Jean Pierre’s wit and good sense of humour makes him a sought after speaker. He regularly addresses prestigious conferences in the region. In his little spare time JP likes to spend time with his family in the quietness of his country home and play golf.


Franz von Merhart (1962) has 25 years experience with the most prestigious names in the Hotel Industry. Until recently he was an Executive Manager at Orient Express, Trains and Cruises from 2005 to 2011. During this period Franz was also in charge of the iconic Road to Mandalay luxury cruises on the Irrawaddy River as well as the 5 star Governor’s Residence in Yangon. Prior to that Franz spent 9 years with Pansea Hotels and Resorts and opened hotels in Tunisia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Indonesia. Franz started his career with ACCOR International where he held different positions in France, Senegal and Gabon.

Franz is perfectly fluent in French, German and English.

When he is not scouting for locations to build his next boutique resort in some of the most beautiful corners of Myanmar, Franz likes to play golf, paint and draw cartoons. He also practices Vipassana meditation.


Léon (1952) is is an action-oriented field diplomat. For the last thirteen years he has been tackling some of the main issues facing Myanmar and managed to achieve substantial results while keeping a very low and discreet profile.

Prior to this service, Léon carried out humanitarian missions all over the world for many prestigious institutions.

At ICRC, serving as head of delegation in Ethiopia from 1983 to 1985, he ran one of the biggest and most valuable operations in the Geneva-based Institution's history. As head of ICRC delegation in Myanmar in 1999, Léon managed to get access to all detention premises and to all political prisoners.

He then became the facilitator on the ground between the authorities and the Burmese opposition under the auspices of the UNSG special envoy as well as the first ILO liaison officer in Myanmar. In 2006, Léon had to leave Yangon for Bangkok where he was able to acquire a better understanding of Myanmar's complex ethnicity issues.

Léon has been back in Myanmar since 2012 as an independent advisor to the peace process, and to initiate a project related to Business & Peace in one of the ethnic states where a ceasefire has been agreed.


A graduate of Sheffield Business School, Alex Bowden (1975) gained a BA with Honours in International Business with French before working in investment banking in the City of London. Realising early on a thirst for more creative and constructive pursuits, Alex entered the design and marketing industry, a passion for which has seen him launch and grow LIQUID, a leading independent branding and communications agency with offices in Bangkok and Yangon.

Having established LIQUID in 2004, Alex is a highly-experienced marketer and branding expert with over 15 years’ experience across a diverse range of industries including hospitality, consumer goods, real estate and financial services. In Myanmar he launched the successful Yum Yum Xcite instant noodles brand; re-branded and re-launched Yoma Bank; branded and launched Apache Cement; branded Junction City, among many other notable brands.

When not working, Alex can be found trying to master 12 bar blues on the piano, or spending time with his young family.


U Min Zaw (1960) is a serial entrepreneur. Currently Managing Director of Good Norm Group of Companies, a company active in media, real estate, travel and tours, distribution, and construction.

U Min Zaw pioneered the professional distribution of consumer goods in Myanmar. In 1993, as the Sales and Marketing Manager of Myanmar Singapura United Tobacco Ltd. (MSUTL), he built up and managed the largest sales force in Myanmar, organizing the distribution, sales and promotion of brands such as 555, Lucky Strike and Benson & Hedges cigarettes, Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky, Lipton tea, Evian water, and Budweiser beer.

In 1997, he set up his own company to become the sole importer and distributor of Amstel beer, and Korea Tobacco & Ginseng Corporation brands as well as other consumer products. He was also the country representative for the advertising agency EURORSCG BALL from Thailand and furthermore has set up Duty Free shops in both Yangon and Mandalay International Airports.

U Min Zaw co-owned and managed a large and successful restaurant and beer pub business from 1998 to 2003.

U Min Zaw holds a B.Sc. Physics from the Yangon University.

He is considered an expert in HR issues in Southeast Asia and has published a number of articles on HR issues.

During his free time, he loves to read, play golf, swim with his family, and power walks in the evening as his daily workout.


Mathieu (1989) has 5 years of experience in Human Resource Management within ASEAN including Executive search, Recruitment, Resourcing, Talent Management and Strategy.

Mathieu holds a MSc in International Business from Audencia Nantes (France) as well as Postgraduate degree from the University of Bradford (UK).

Before to move in Myanmar, Mathieu worked for five years in Singapore where his experience has enabled industry business leaders to drive large organizational change and transformation programs resulting in an increase in the business performance and employee retention.

As an Executive Search Consultant, Mathieu was part of a pioneer Exploration and Production team focusing on recruitment services for Oil and Gas companies across ASEAN. He also had the opportunity to join a Big 4 firm (EY) to help establishing the resource management practices for the Advisory service business line within Singapore.

During his free time Mathieu enjoys sports, travelling around Asia and tweeting about Myanmar latest business news (@MathieuInYangon).