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Frank Gibson

Frank has been advising international companies on Asian business issues for three decades. Over this time he has undertaken assignments with more than one hundred different international companies doing business across these dynamic and challenging markets. The majority of this work has been dealing with complex business problems across a mix of market entry, strategy development, marketing, and sales and distribution issues. He also has extensive experience in assisting multinationals to acquire local operations and assets.

He has worked with major companies from across the globe and remains closely connected to the challenges that international companies commonly face in the region.  While Frank has worked across different sectors he has particularly deep experience in food and agriculture. This includes working across the value chain for many international food producers spanning farming through to consumer marketing. He has deep current experience developing route to market strategies for major companies.  

Frank is a Mandarin speaker and has degrees in the social sciences (University of New South Wales), economics (University of New England), and an MBA (Australian Graduate School of Management). He has also sat on a number of Boards including the Beach Heads Board (New Zealand Government China advisory), and Ocean Mates (which operated a resort business in the Philippines).  He has also previously held senior executive positions with Lion Nathan and a Li & Fung JV.  He started his consulting career in Australia with ACP (Australian Consulting Partners) which was a very successful boutique strategy firm formed by BCG/McKinsey alumni in the late 1980s. He later opened and ran offices for them in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Prior to entering the private sector, Frank held a number of senior economic policy positions in the Australian Government (Foreign Affairs and Trade and Social Security). He lives in Shanghai with his wife Zhang Heyi and their two children.

Xavier Naville

Xavier Naville started Creative Food a key supplier to major China restaurant chains. If you ate a Starbucks, KFC, Pizza Hut, Costa Coffee, chances are that you bought Creative Food’s salads, sandwiches, wraps, or soups. He took it from a start-up to 8 factories and 4 farms in mainland China with a turnover of about US$50M and 1000+ employees. Xavier sold the company to Bakkavor a leading UK-listed food company and vacated the CEO position in 2011. Xavier subsequently joined Frank as a partner in Vision Management Consulting.  
As a consequence of his experience, Xavier has deep intimacy with the Chinese operating environment and what it requires to build successful businesses in this challenging market. This intimacy stretches across the value chain from farming to consumer. In particular, he understands the requirement for quality and safety in managing supply chains.

Xavier has a deep interest in the modernization of agriculture supply chains in China and in 2021 he published a book—The Lettuce Diaries: How a Frenchman Found Gold Growing Vegetables in China—on this subject.  Xavier also has a wide network of contacts and relationships across the China food and agricultural sectors.

Over the years Xavier has acquired four businesses in China and raised more than 50 million dollars in equity, debt, and mezzanine financing (both as CEO for Creative Food and earlier as CFO for Compass Group China). He has a Master’s degree in Corporate Finance from Catholic University of Louvain where he graduated with the highest distinction. He was previously a member of the French Junior national fencing team.  He speaks fluent French, English, and Chinese and is proficient in German. He lives in Oakland, California with his Korean American journalist wife and their three children.

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Mike Chen

Mike worked with Xavier for ten years at Creative Food. During that period Mike lead the company’s operations and supply chain, managing a team of several hundred employees, building and running 10 plants across China. 

He created and managed a network of grower partners for Creative Food across Jiangsu, Yunnan, Hubei, Guangdong, Fujian, Shandong, and Hebei provinces. Thanks to Mike’s work, Creative Food is now sourcing fresh vegetables around the year from a total planted base exceeding 20,000 mu and spread over multiple regions. He actively managed and supervised a network of growers as well as Creative’s own four farms. 

Every day, despite weather conditions, shipments of fresh vegetables arrived at Creative plants across China to be cut, cleaned, packaged and shipped within 24 hours to the largest foodservice chains in China. A total of more than 3000 restaurants belonging to the world’s most demanding foodservice brands relied on this supply chain for their key menu items such as burgers, sandwiches, wraps, soups, and salads.

Mike is a graduate of Nanjing Audit University. He started as an accountant in Nanjing in a government-owned company. After reaching senior levels in the government hierarchy he moved to the private sector and joined Colgate. Starting as a sales representative and working his way up to more senior positions. When he left Colgate in 1998, Mike was running the company’s sales in seven provinces, managing a network of more than 100 distributors. Subsequently, he joined Henkel and led its sales expansion in 11 provinces, representing half of the company sales at the time. 

Mike’s familiarity with the decision process in the government helped Creative Food secure strong support wherever it operated. His ability to build and manage a strong supply chain was a key to Creative’s success. Since leaving Creative Food with Xavier in 2011 Mike has worked on many agri-business supply chain projects with Xavier and Frank.  Mike is a Nanjing native and has residences both there and in Shanghai.

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