Co-Chair: Luise Schafer OBE


A fluent Chinese speaker, Luise has had a long and distinguished career with over 40 years' professional experience of China, and East Asia beginning with postgraduate studies in Chinese in 1980.

Her early career included positions at American and Japanese technology firms in Beijing, an executive post at a World Health Organisation programme in Cambridge, and latterly a senior role at the premier British consultancy assisting corporates break into or develop the China market.

Headhunted into the Foreign Office in 1994 as one of its first private sector appointments, Luise took up a posting as a senior diplomat at the British Embassy in Beijing. This enabled her to lead on a broad commercial portfolio, providing commercial advice to British companies, managing official and Ministerial visits in both directions and building effective UK-China partnerships across a range of key industries. She successfully led on the visit of the British Deputy Prime Minister in 1996 in the run-up to Hong Kong's handover, securing against the odds a meeting with the Chinese President, and brought to joint UK-China Ministerial signature an important bilateral maritime treaty, opening up major commercial opportunities to UK shipping.

Latterly headhunted into the Abacus Group, as Vice Chairman of their China operations, she grew the business and brand significantly over 16 years, in both China and other E. Asian territories. In 2010 she delivered on a new, larger, green-field facility in Shanghai, negotiating with both public and private partners.

Luise was Vice Chairman of the 48 Group in the 2000s, and latterly appointed an Honorary Member. Between 2008 and 2011 she served on the Board of the British Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, where she was elected Chairman. Highlights of her tenure included meeting Xi Jinping when he became Party Secretary in Shanghai, Prime Minister Gordon Brown during his first visit to China, and hosting Sarah Brown at an intimate roundtable luncheon with leading women in Shanghai.

As the Chair of the first Women in Business group in China, Luise championed the woman's voice in industry and the professions, and encouraged those who wished to pursue public life and professional development. She has also held a number of other Board positions in NGOs and industry and is a staunch supporter or women and children's charities, including UN initiatives.

Since 2012, Luise has been an independent corporate advisor and non-executive Director, including Senior Advisor to CRCC Asia, a global consultancy provifing internship and training programmes throughout Asia, and a Director of Glim Consulting, a specialist consultancy based in Asia.

In the Queen's birthday honours list in 2012, Luise was honoured with an OBE for services to British business in China.

In 2013 Luise joined Mulan Foundation Network as a trustee, initiating and leading on Mulan’s mentoring programme, and coordinating the Mulan Awards as one of three judges. She feels privileged to be leading Mulan into exciting future projects, since her appointment as Co-Chair in early 2023.

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