Advisory Board & Affiliates

Advisory Board

Dr. Bernd Leissner

Dr. Leissner was born on the 26th of September 1941, in Berlin, Germany. He received his Master’s degree in economics at the Freie Universität of Berlin in 1966.  From 1967-1969, he worked for the Allianz Insurance Group in Berlin.  In 1970, he joined Volkswagen, in Wolfsburg, Germany, and was promoted to Executive Vice President in 1981.

In 1990, Dr. Leissner was sent to Yugoslavia as the President of Volkswagen in Sarajevo. In January 1993, he became a member of the Board of Directors of Volkswagen de México S.A. de C.V., Puebla, Mexico, responsible for Production, Purchasing, Logistics, Planning, R&D and Quality Assurance. Shortly thereafter, he was also appointed as the President and Chairman of the Board. In addition, in 1996 and 2001 he was named the President of Audi de México, the President of SEAT de México and PORSCHE de Mexico respectively.

On March 1st, 2002, Dr. Leissner was appointed the President of Volkswagen Group China and Asian-Pacific-Region and a member of the Board of Directors of Volkswagen (China) Investment Co., Ltd., he was also named a board member of Shanghai Volkswagen and FAW-Volkswagen and several other companies.

In 1992 he was awarded the Gold Medal issued by the municipal government of Sarajevo.  In 2001, he was distinguished with the First Class Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In the same year, he was given an honorary doctorate degree from the Ibero-America University in Puebla, Mexico. Since September 2005 he is an Advisory Professor at Tongji University, Shanghai, China.

After 36 years Dr. Leissner retired from the Volkswagen Group in September 2005 and lives with his wife in Florida. He now has his own company and works mainly as an international consultant with focus on the automotive business.

Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson is Chairman and Managing Director of Anderson Energy (Hong Kong) Limited, a consulting company which he set up in 2000 to specialise in assisting companies mostly in Africa and China in the energy sector.

Before retiring in 2000, Brian had a 34-year professional career, largely in the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies. His technical base before entering general management was in Petroleum Engineering (Production engineering), in which role he was responsible for development and strategic planning for the Shell operating companies in which we worked.

During the last 20 years of his Shell career he was involved in managing businesses in many countries, with contacts in many cases up to Head of State level.

His last assignment before retirement was three years based in Beijing as Chairman of the Shell Companies in North East Asia, principally involved in China and Hong Kong, but he also had overall responsibility for Shell’s interests in Korea and Taiwan.

Apart from his time in N. E. Asia, he spent 11 years in Malaysia/Brunei, six years in Nigeria, five years in Oman, five years in Australia, and three years in the Netherlands and Norway.

Brian’s home until 1967 was near Jos in northern Nigeria, although he was educated in the UK, and he worked in Nigeria from 1965-1967 as a mining engineer. He returned eventually to Nigeria as Managing Director of the Shell Petroleum Development Company and Chairman of Shell Nigeria in January 1994. He held those posts until he was transferred to China in July 1997. He continues to have close contact with the country through his ongoing business interests.

During his tenure as Chairman of the Shell Companies in North East Asia Brian was responsible for developing Shell’s future business, in particular through the formation of important strategic alliances with two of the major State-owned Chinese petroleum corporations, which have since led to what are multi-billion dollar investment commitments in the petroleum and petrochemicals sectors in China.

Brian’s China experience also includes a 6-year involvement with the prestigious China Council for International Cooperation on the Environment and Development and which includes Minister and Vice-Ministerial level appointees from within China, and top-level international members from government and global multilateral organizations and businesses. He represented the Shell Group as a council member for 4 years, and participated as a member of two taskforces involved with energy and sustainable development policy for China.

He has been involved in developing scenarios and strategy for energy and other companies and he advises and consults in other business sectors (Sustainable Development, Risk Management, General and Human Resource, Management), and spoken on energy matters in the USA, Switzerland, Hong Kong, South Africa, Australia and China. He was executive in residence and has lectured at Columbia University in New York on Business and Human Rights, and has spoken on China’s energy options at Princeton University.

He was a director and Board Member of the Addax Petroleum Corporation during it’s key development period (sold to Sinopec for $7.2 billion), is currently a non-executive director of the Kaisun Energy Group and IP owner of a technology-based start-up in California which is commercialising new processes for extracting and recycling metals (Palladium, Platinum etc.,) from spent catalysts derived from the automobile industry and petroleum and petrochemicals refining.

He is also involved in gold mining investments in Indonesia, and as a director and co-founder of Acura Limited, registered in Hong Kong, a vehicle for investments and consulting in mining and clean coal developments.

He was awarded the title of Datuk by two states (Sarawak and Sabah) in the Malaysian Federation for services to those states whilst he was with Shell Malaysia, and continues to have close contact with the country at senior level.

He was responsible for leading a large part of the early and formative development process for offshore gas and oil investments in Australia’s North West Shelf which is now one of Australia’s most successful and largest local and export businesses.

He was responsible for seminal input to the design of Nigeria’s Vision 2010 Project which sought to provide a blueprint for the country’s development, modeled on Malaysia’s successful Vision 2020. He introduced Nigeria’s government and its V 2010 team to one of the key architects of Malaysia’s V 2020, and he also introduced one of the key people responsible for Chile’s economic restructuring post Pinochet. In 2003 he received an award from the Nigerian Government for his V 2010 services.


Andreae & Associates, Inc.

Charles Andreae, President

  • Since 1992, Andreae & Associates has provided high-end political risk management and business intelligence services. By taking into account the full range of our clients’ objectives, we create a coordinated, seamless approach that both supports and protects their ultimate goals.
  • Mr. Andreae brings to Ascension extensive exposure and experience to the Washington establishment, with particular focus on foreign policy and trade. He worked for fifteen years on Capitol Hill, including four years with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and five years as Chief of Staff for Senator Richard Lugar, former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
  • Andreae and Associates has focused on implementing aggressive political strategies in support of international commercial deals, whether focused in the US or elsewhere in the world.
  • A constant need to understand and protect investment opportunities, deal structures and ongoing commercial activity from governmental interference such as CIFIUS has led him to carefully analyze the political risk found around each investment and put in place a strategy which will protect its success.

We are honored to have long standing working relationships in China and around the world that cover multiple industries. Available upon request.

Capital Advisors

We value the expertise that our carefully selected advisors bring to Ascension. All are retired heads of multinationals or senior government officials, who are dedicated  to promoting global economic growth by adding sage counsel and insight to commercial trade.