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Longtime tire industry executive Jack Kim dies

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Jaiheon (Jack) Kim, a visionary tire executive whose career in the industry spanned 36 years, died on Oct. 7, 2014.

A specialist in building brands and broadening markets, Kim spent the bulk of his professional career at Hankook Tire America Corp. He served as a C-level executive for 17 of his 36 years, all at Hankook Tire. For the past year Kim has served as a strategic business associate at Tire Consultants Group LLC (TCG).

Kim was part of the Global HQ (Seoul, South Korea) planning team that brought Hankook Tire to the United States in 1982. During Kim’s U.S. tenure with Hankook, in roles ranging from general manager to executive vice president and chief operating officer, Hankook went from a virtually unknown import brand to the seventh-largest tire brand sold in the U.S.

A citizen of the United States, 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 to 1985, when he made a plan to establish Hankook Tire America Corp. in the United States. He managed the North America section at Hankook Tire Korea in 1986, and from 1987 to 1994 served as Hankook’s marketing manager.

From 1994 to 1996 Kim was team manager for the North American and European markets at Hankook Tire Korea. The following year and until 1993, he served as general manager for Hankook Tire America Corp. Concurrently he was responsible for Hankook’s ASA Wheel Division.

From 2001 to 2004, Kim was executive vice president and chief operating officer for Hankook. His responsibilities included sales and marketing, sales operations, credit control, personnel, import and traffic, and overall company management. Under his leadership Hankook rose to achieve annual sales volume of approximately $300 million. From 2005 to 2010, Kim worked as an independent agent for Hankook.

“Jack was a valued colleague and a good friend,” says Skip Viola, president of TCG. “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.”

Kim was a resident of Wyckoff, N.J. For more information on the passing of Jack Kim, contact Skip Viola, TCG president, at (610) 272-5182, at (484) 614-6228, or via email at:

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