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Lippert’s expertise to boost Samsung’s US strategy

Tech giant bolsters responsiveness to policy changes in the US, especially on supply chain issues

Former US Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert
Former US Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert
Samsung Electronics America said Wednesday it has hired former US Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert as its public relations chief, in an apparent move to better respond to uncertainties surrounding policy changes in the US, especially on chips.

The former envoy will lead the company’s Washington office as executive vice president and head of North American public affairs from March 1.

Samsung said Lippert’s insight into policy changes and regulations in the US will play a key role in building its business strategy in the all-important US market.

“Mark brings decades of public policy experience to Samsung Electronics America, as well as a deep understanding of how geopolitics impacts business in the US,” said K.S. Choi, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics America.

“He is a proven leader and an effective diplomat, and we are thrilled that he will be bringing his profound expertise and enthusiasm to Samsung in Washington, D.C.,” Choi added.

The latest recruitment comes as Samsung faces growing uncertainties amid the escalating US-China rivalry and Washington’s push to reshape global supply chains of chips, Seoul’s key export item.

The Joe Biden administration is seeking to expand domestic chip manufacturing with an aim to retain an edge over China’s technological ambitions.

Chipmakers like Samsung, the world’s largest memory chipmaker, are feeling the pinch.

Samsung has announced a series of investment plans in the US, including a second foundry plant worth 20 trillion won ($17 billion) in Texas last year

Tensions also boiled over at the US government’s request that chipmakers submit their classified business data to resolve a global chip shortage. Companies resisted immediately, but some compromises were made on the level of disclosure at the last minute.

“Lippert will be tasked with handling government affairs issues amid uncertainties. His experience at the US government and his understanding of the Korean culture is expected to create a synergy,” an industry source said on condition of anonymity.

Lippert, 48, served as US ambassador to South Korea from 2014-2017 under the Barack Obama administration.

After his three-year term, he worked as a vice president for Boeing International and senior adviser for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In June 2020, he was appointed as director of government affairs and public policy of YouTube Asia-Pacific.

The former diplomat made frequent appearances in the public, showing his affection for Korean culture.

He and his wife Robyn gave birth to the couple’s son and daughter during their stay in Seoul, and gave them Korean middle names.

In 2015, Lippert was attacked by a man wielding a knife and shouting anti-American statements when he was heading to a peace forum in central Seoul. Despite injuries on his face, he thanked Korean people for showing support for him and his family. He said, “Let’s go together” in Korean, a symbolic slogan representing the ironclad Korea-US alliance.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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