Published On: 8th March, 2024


From Mr Sakib Awan, Chair, East Timor Trading Group

Ms Milena Pires appointed CEO Designate of East Timor Trading Group

In September 2023, I had the pleasure of welcoming Ms Milena Pires to East Timor Trading Group (ETT) as Director for Corporate Affairs and Social Responsibility.

It seems particularly appropriate to announce Milena’s new role as Chief Executive Officer at East Timor Trading on International Women’s Day, given she has consistently advocated for women’s rights at local and international levels for several decades.

Milena has an extensive background in the public sector, which includes representing women at the National Consultative Council (NCC), to which she was later elected Vice President. She was nominated as the Ambassador, Permanent Representative and led the Timor-Leste Permanent Mission to the UN from 2016–2020. Milena also led diplomatic efforts to enable g7+ to obtain Permanent Observer Status of the UN General Assembly.

Since joining ETT, Milena has been displaying her exceptional critical thinking and negotiation skills daily. These abilities, coupled with a heart of gold and her innate sense of fairness for all, have shown her natural ability to nurture—a quality on which our family company has been built and which we know will continue with Milena at its helm.

ETT currently employs more than 200 staff, over 95 per cent of which are Timorese. When my wife, Neelo, and I founded ETT in 2002, we always intended to hire Timorese nationals for the company’s most senior positions. Milena’s appointment as CEO Designate sees the realization of this long-held goal.

With Milena as CEO, and still driven by our alignment with the Timor-Leste Strategic Development Plan 2011–2030, we will continue to diversify the business and expand employment. Our next goal is to directly and indirectly provide employment for 1% of the country’s population. Our current expansion plans are to expand into real estate development. The first will be the Discovery Business Industrial Zone, which will provide a new headquarters for ETT along with office space for local and international, new and existing businesses. We will also continue to expand our national FMCG distribution business, currently serving 2200 outlets across all districts in Timor-Leste. With these plans in place, we know that our 1% employment target is completely achievable.

Exciting times are ahead for East Timor Trading, and Milena is exactly the right person to take business forward, to grow its reputation as a vibrant employer of choice in Timor-Leste, and to achieve our future goals. I speak for the whole ETT team when I say we look forward to working with Milena and seeing her thrive in this new role, as we know she will.

Further details of Ms Pires’ career may be found on her LinkedIn page.