NEW YORK—Jaiheon “Jack” Kim, former Hankook Tire America Corp. executive and a strategic business associate at Tire Consultants Group L.L.C., died on Oct. 7.
Kim, 61, a resident of Wyckoff, N.J., was a 36-year industry veteran. A specialist in building brands and broadening markets, Kim spent the bulk of his professional career at Hankook, where he served as a C-level executive for 17 years.
For the past year Kim served as a strategic business associate for Tire Consultants Group L.L.C. which, according to its website, “was formed in 2012 by three veteran tire industry executives with the purpose of lending over 100 years of expertise in sales, marketing, operations, supply chain logistics, strategic planning, research and analysis in marketing, production, pricing, financial analysis and competitive trends in the North American market.”
Kim was part of the Global HQ (Seoul, South Korea) planning team that brought Hankook Tire to the U.S. in 1982. During his U.S. tenure with Hankook—in roles ranging from general manager to executive vice president and COO—Hankook went from a virtually unknown import brand to the seventh largest tire brand sold in the U.S., according to a former tire industry executive and acquaintance.
A citizen of the U.S., Kim studied English literature at Korea University, graduating in 1978. He went on to staff and manage the tire department at Hyosung Corp. (General Trading Co.) from 1978-85, when he made a plan to establish Hankook Tire America Corp. in the U.S. He managed the North America section for Hankook Tire Korea in 1986, and from 1987-94, he served as Hankook Tire's marketing manager.
From 1994-96, Kim was team manger for Hankook Tire Korea's North American and European markets. He served as general manager for Hankook Tire America Corp., a role equivalent to chief executive officer. At the same time, he was responsible for Hankook's ASA Wheel Division.
From 2001-04, Kim served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Hankook Tire. From 2005-10, he worked as an independent agent for the tire maker.
“Jack was a valued colleague and a good friend,” said Skip Viola, president of Tire Consultants Group. “He was the consummate executive who worked tirelessly to succeed, and he did on many levels. His presence will be sorely missed by all of us at Tire Consultants Group and by all of us in the tire industry who had the pleasure of knowing him.”