Executive Leadership Team


Andrew Wilson

Andrew is the Chief Executive Officer of Ascender. Prior to his appointment, Andrew was the Head of Strategy and had been instrumental in transforming customer satisfaction and experience levels. He has extensive strategy experience including as General Manager of Strategy, Planning and Innovation at Coca-Cola Amatil and, prior to that, as a management consultant with Bain & Company. Andrew is also a member of the Board of ReachOut Australia and holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours & University Medal) from the University of Sydney and a Masters of Business Administration (Distinction) from London Business School.


Neil Thompson

Neil is the Chief Financial Officer of Ascender. He comes with over 30 years of Strategic and Senior Finance experience. Prior to joining Ascender, Neil has held a number of Senior Corporate Finance Executive roles in both ASX listed and private equity backed companies. Most recently he has applied his skills in the arts sector as one of the founders and Executive Chairman of the Australian World Orchestra. Neil has a strong background in financial reporting, mergers and acquisitions, strategic planning, market analysis, budgeting and forecasting, capital management funding, treasury and cash management. He holds a Bachelor of Economics from La Trobe University.

General Counsel

Tracey Peverell

Tracey Peverell is the General Counsel of Ascender. With experience in both private and in-house law practice, Tracey’s senior lawyer roles have focussed on operational compliance issues, Global IT Services, logistics, financial services, and large mergers & acquisitions transactions. She has implemented compliance programs through effective engagement of stakeholder management and the broader network, engaging with all levels of personnel from Senior Stakeholders to mentoring junior staff to facilitate the best outcome of the business. Tracey has an LLB from University of Sydney and is admitted to practice in both Australia and the United Kingdom.

General Manager,
People & Culture

Kelly McFadden

Kelly is the General Manager of People & Culture in Ascender. With 15+ years HR leadership and change management experience, she has successfully led mergers and acquisitions integrations, organisation design and cultural transformation initiatives. Prior to Ascender, she was the Director of Haematology and Oncology business unit at Amgen Australia, with leadership roles in executing HR strategies to drive profitability and increase employee engagement. Kelly has a Masters of Business Administration from the University of New England, Human Resources Management in Asia certificate from INSEAD and has completed the Foundations of Directors course. She is currently a member of the Australia Institute of Company Directors.

General Manager,
Growth & Strategy

Reika Dzupinka

Reika is the General Manager for Growth & Strategy for Ascender. She comes with 15 years of commercial experience with expertise in Strategy, Operations and Sales having worked in top-tier consulting and high-growth tech. Before joining Ascender, Reika was Head of Mid Market Sales at Linkedin for Australia and New Zealand. Prior to moving to Sales, Reika was Head of APAC Sales Operations playing a key role in the company’s annual financial planning and forecasting, developing go-to-market strategies and managing internal sales policies. Reika started her career at Bain & Co, specialising in strategy cases across multiple industries. Reika holds an MBA from INSEAD and Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science from University of Sydney.

General Manager,
Ascender Cloud Services

Richard Breden

Richard is the General Manager for Ascender Cloud Services. He has an extensive background in Workplace Relations, HR and HR Tech. Richard immediate role prior to Ascender was as Chief Customer and Operating Officer from Flare where he was responsible for building the business from inception, including launching their payroll offering. Prior to Flare, he founded enableHR, a cloud-based, which he grew to over 8,000 customers across ANZ. Prior to that, he was with a leading specialist Workplace Law firm and held a number of roles in corporate affairs along with pursuing other entrepreneurial ventures. Richard also holds NED roles and is Chairman of the Australian Rugby Agent Accreditation Board. Richard has a Bachelor of Commerce (Employment Law and Industrial Relations) and an MBA from Macquarie Graduate School of Management.

General Manager,
Asia Services

Inna Wahlberg

Inna is the General Manager of Asia Services at Ascender. She has extensive regional experience in senior strategic and commercial technical roles, with her most recent role managing SAP applications for BHP. Inna led many highly complex multi-regional implementation of robust process optimisation and compliance within the enterprise space. Inna holds a Masters of Science (Economics) from the Hanken Swedish School of Economics in Helsinki.

General Manager,
Public & Enterprise Services

Sandy Forrest

Sandy is the General Manager of ANZ Public & Enterprise Services at Ascender. Sandy possesses 20+ years expertise in the HR and Payroll space, across both operational and leadership positions. Prior to joining Ascender, he worked with organisations such as Western Australian Education and Western Australia Police agencies. Sandy has a strong track record in ensuring the success and satisfaction of Ascender clients, through his effective delivery of project implementation and consulting. Sandy holds a Masters of Business from the University of Western Australia.

General Manager,
Japan Services

Brian Tsai

Brian is the General Manager of Japan Services at Ascender. He joined Ascender from Workcloud Inc, Ascender’s Payroll/Time and Leave/HRIS platform in Japan, which he started in 2014. Brian’s strength is in the web technology arena, and he has been an active executive in the IT startup space in Japan since 2000. Prior to that, Brian has had other careers as an investment banker in Tokyo/Hong Kong, as well as international sales at Mitsubishi Corporation. He holds a Chemical Engineering degree from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.

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