Mr Alf D’Souza – Mangalorean Star
Mangalorean.com is proud to introduce a very successful entrepreneur Mr. Alf D’Souza and his unique success in an international business.The Australian Government announced on 26 January 2008 in Canberra that it had appointed Alf D’Souza as
The Australian Government announced on 26 January 2008 in Canberra that it had appointed Alf D’Souza as member of the Order of Australia. The Order of Australia is officially described as “the pre-eminent way Australia recognizes the achievements and services of its citizens.” The Queen as sovereign is the head of the Order of Australia.
His official citation reads: “For service to international trade through the energy sector as a contributor to the development of a bilateral agreement with China for the supply of liquefied natural gas.”
The honor was awarded to Alf for the contribution he made during the years he worked in Beijing between 2000-2004 when he was seconded from Shell Australia to a new company set up to sell Australian natural gas overseas. That new company was Australia LNG. Alf was sent to establish its new office in Beijing, establish new relationships with the Chinese Government and companies, and to commence marketing for China’s first LNG supply contract. Although intensely competitive over many years, Australia was successful in capturing the first multi-billion dollar LNG contract. That contract was extremely important in boosting China-Australia trade and to both governments.
Alf is currently based in Moscow where he is Vice President of Shell Russia. In that capacity he is director of corporate affairs for Shell’s interests and investments in Russia. Alf and his wife Maryann have now been in Moscow for some four years but their permanent home is back in Melbourne.
Alf has strong family roots in Mangalore and studied at St Aloysius School and college. He is the son of Antony and Alice D’Souza from Bijai and the grandson of P D’Souza who was an eminent lawyer in his heyday in Mangalore. His wife Maryann also comes from Mangalore and she is the daughter of Percy and Delcy Aranha who are now retired in Melbourne.
When Alf was fresh out of university, he wanted to travel. He left India in 1974 to settle in Australia and worked as an economist in Canberra with the Industries Commission and then Prime Minister and Cabinet, which was great policymaking experience Alf says. In 1980 he joined Shell in Melbourne working in different parts of the company and in different countries in challenging business roles. Later he was moved to Perth and then to Beijing.
“Most of the time it has been hard to tell where you would end up next – but it has always been interesting. Over the last four years Moscow and Russia have been a fascinating business and personal experience and working in different cultures add another dimension to the challenge. Equally, we found China to be extremely rewarding in both a business and culturally. I have been lucky that my family has adjusted easily including taking up the study of Mandarin and Russian languages.” Alf says.
Let us meet and learn about Mr. Alf D’Souza and his views on a personal note:
Mangalorean.com: How do you feel to be appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia?
Alf: I think it is a great privilege and I am very thankful for the recognition, especially since Australia is my adopted country. It is much harder to win this award if you come from the business sphere because the government assumes that you have been adequately compensated; and so it needs to be demonstrated that some outstanding contribution has been made to the nation. However, winning such an award is always a team effort and I would never have got it without the support of my wife Maryann, my work colleagues, family and friends. Getting the business up and running was always going to be difficult in China because it was highly competitive – but we successfully worked out a close partnership between the industry and the Australian government and in the end it was successful. Unfortunately, but fortunately in this case, the nature of this business was ‘winner takes all’ and it turned out to be a mega billion-dollar contract over 25 years of LNG supply.
Mangalorean.com: What is your impression of your success with your Beijing based team, in winning the LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) project worth $25 billion, which is the largest export deal in Australian economic history?
Alf: I think it was a feeling of sheer exhilaration, not just myself, but also the whole team and especially my family. The contract was winner take all and so there was no second prize. For that reason the competition was very intense.
Mangalorean.com: As you are from Indian origin, what was your thought when you were selected to spearhead this mammoth project in China?
Alf: It was the least to say ‘unusual’ at the start. However, the Chinese have an ancient history and look upon India the same way. For the rest business is very much established on a personal basis. Relationships are very important to business and hospitality is at the centre of it. However, relationships once established are long lasting and trusting.
Mangalorean.com: Being an Indian, working for an Australian company and negotiating with the Chinese Government, were there any hurdles in clinching this deal?
Alf: The negotiations were very intensive as the Chinese were interested in every aspect of the deal including price. This was made more difficult due to the intensity of international competition and big-power politics. All in all this was a heady mix of business and politics and there was never a dull moment in Beijing in those days.
Mangalorean.com: Any remarks for calling you as “25 billion dollar man’?
Alf: I think there is an element of exaggeration here in the headline. This can never be an individual effort but rather that of a team and I can hardly claim credit for all of that effort.
Mangalorean.com: How does your family respond to drastic changes in social conditions and all round environments while you move to different parts of the world?
Alf: The transition of kids to new countries is less difficult than for adults because they absorb information fast and learn new experiences all of the time. Of course they miss friends but they make new ones quickly and move on. Our daughter Stephanie speaks both Russian and Mandarin.
Mangalorean.com wishes Alf D’Souza all the very best in his future endeavors.
Melwin D\’souza, India:
Congrats Mr. Alf D’souza, for being appointed a member of the order of Australia.
father juze vaz svd, India:
i congratulate Mr. Alf D Souza for being appointed a member of the order of Australia. May God be with him and his work. we as Manglorean Catholics value the sense of love for our herritage. I am sure he is proud of the group of his place of origin
May God bless him abundantly.
in the Divine word,
fr. juze vaz svd