Joanne Thorton – Chair

Joanne Thornton

Joanne is a Certified Chair with the Advisory Board Centre and a Graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors. With a broad international network including financial institutions, central banks, investors and entrepreneurs, she is well-placed to facilitate strategic business outcomes, including access to capital and willing collaborators. Having architected various strategies to attract global investors to Australia, she has also represented the State of Queensland internationally, with transcripts published in global financial market publications.

Having also spent many years advising public sector entities on multibillion dollar investments, debt structures and the management of financial risks, she has an extensive understanding of public finance and regulatory arrangements.

Jo now provides strategic advice to organisations in various stages of growth and transformation across multiple sectors, leveraging what is a powerful combination of experience in global financial markets and corporate finance, together with a deep understanding of the machinery of government.


Hiro Shimada

Hiro is an experienced corporate adviser with over 17 years’ experience spanning Australia, the UK and Japan. He has advised corporate and private equity clients on public and private corporate transactions (>$18 billion) across a number of industry sectors including general industrials, TMT, property, consumer, healthcare, infrastructure and agribusiness. Prior to founding Birchgrove Capital Partners, Hiro held senior roles in the investment banking divisions of Nomura, Investec and Macquarie. 

Hiro is also an Approved Advisor with the Advisory Board Centre, working with an exclusive, carefully selected team of Entrepreneurs and Advisors in building tailored Advisory Boards for growing businesses.

Hiro holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New South Wales.

Darryl Flukes

Darryl’s has an energy industry background with an increasing focus on clean energy generation through investment, development and operations.  He is currently a board member of solar-farm developer ESCO Pacific, a previous board member of renewable generator/retailer Powershop and the Clean Energy Council.  Formerly, he was General Manger at hydro generator Southern Hydro and CEO of Infratil Australia.

Darryl has been active in the various renewable and carbon related markets since their inception, being instrumental in the original design of the Renewable Energy Target and in developing the trading mechanisms for these products.

He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Governance Institute of Australia, and currently studying for a Masters of Environment and Sustainability.

Paul Davies

Paul’s executive career has focused on business development and advice within the investment sector. Paul started as an investment analyst and international stockbroker in London focusing on understanding the sustainability of a company’s business model, finances and valuation. As the Director of Paul Davies & Associates he led the institutional business development of two global investment managers in Australia. 

He has a decade of board experience across the Not-For-Profit sector with particular experience in the community and disability sectors including being President and Treasurer of Parkinson’s Australia. He is presently a Finance and Investment Committee Member of Guide Dogs SA&NT. He also has postgraduate qualifications in Finance, Investment and Economics while he is a Graduate of the Company Directors Course.

John Groppoli

John Groppoli, Principal of GlenForest Corporate, a boutique practice specialising in legal strategy and advisory support in connection with mergers and acquisitions, risk management, corporate restructure and governance and board processes. 

John is a non-executive director of Stealth Global Holdings Ltd (ASX) a national and international distributor (B2B and B2C) of industrial, mining, PPE, safety (first aid) products and logistic services. Until late last year, was a non-executive director of Automotive Holdings Group Ltd—largest ASX listed auto retailer in Australia. During his 13 year period with AHG, John Chaired the RemNom Committee and held the role of Acting Chair of the Company for 12 months. 

Apart from 30 plus years of legal practice, John also brings experience as an executive director of a number of SMEs/private in such diverse areas as international homewares (importation/brand marketing), optical distribution, electrical retail and wholesale, auto protection accessories, viticulture, silviculture and professional services (law and architecture).