Press Release: The Asia Group Welcomes Ambassador Kurt Tong as Partner

July 30, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. | July 30, 2019 — The Asia Group is proud to announce that Ambassador Kurt Tong (retired) has joined the firm as a Partner and member of the executive management committee.

Ambassador Tong spent three decades as a diplomat, working to advance U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific at the highest levels of the Foreign Service. He most recently served as Consul General in Hong Kong and Macau, where he led U.S. political and economic engagement with that important financial and trade hub. Prior to this role, he also served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Deputy Chief of Mission in Tokyo, Ambassador to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, Director for Korean Affairs at the State Department, and as Director for Asian Economic Affairs at the National Security Council.

As a Partner at The Asia Group, Ambassador Tong will lead the firm’s growth in Japan and broader East Asia, bolstering its ability to provide actionable solutions and key strategic insights into the region’s complex political and economic dynamics.

“Kurt brings a unique perspective at one of the most challenging and consequential times for American interests in Asia,” said Dr. Kurt M. Campbell, Chairman and CEO. “His thirty years of experience at the highest levels of U.S. diplomacy give him unparalleled insight into the most complex issues confronting global companies and investors in the region. His addition to our team reflects The Asia Group’s focus on bringing together the world’s finest talent to drive our service offerings for American and global corporations seeking to advance their objectives in the Indo-Pacific region.”

The Asia Group: The Asia Group (“TAG”) is a leading strategy and business advisory firm to corporations and organizations with business interests in the Indo-Pacific region. The Asia Group helps clients identify, integrate, and advance new business opportunities in Asia, and works with businesses to navigate the complexities of both established and emerging Asian markets. The Asia Group represents a diverse client base in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, from leading Fortune 500 multi-national corporations to cutting-edge early-stage companies. The Asia Group’s partner and associate network collectively brings to bear decades of relevant on-the-ground experience and knowledge – spanning multiple generations of politicians, business and civil society leaders, and decision makers on both sides of the Pacific.

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Ambassador Kurt Tong
Partner, The Asia Group

Ambassador Kurt Tong is a Partner at The Asia Group, where he leads the firm’s work in Japan and the broader East Asia region. A leading expert in diplomacy and economic affairs in East Asia, Ambassador Tong brings thirty years of experience in the Department of State as a career Foreign Service Officer and member of the Senior Foreign Service.

Prior to joining The Asia Group, Ambassador Tong served as Consul General and Chief of Mission in Hong Kong and Macau, leading U.S. political and economic engagement with that important free trade hub. Prior to that role, he served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs at the State Department from 2014 to 2016, guiding the Department’s institutional strengthening efforts as its most senior career diplomat handling economic affairs. He also served as the Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from 2011 to 2014, where he played a key role in setting the stage for Japan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership and supporting Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. In 2013, he received the Cordell Hull Award for Economic Achievement by Senior Officers for his outstanding success in advancing U.S. economic interests by reducing trade barriers, increasing market access for American products, and enhancing international cooperation across the Asia Pacific region.

Prior to these positions, Ambassador Tong served as Ambassador for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2011, leading the U.S. chairmanship of the organization during one of the most productive periods for APEC. As Director of Korean Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, he played a leadership role in negotiations with North Korea as part of the Six-Party Talks and in securing the release of captive Americans held there. He was one of the original architects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement during the Bush and Obama administrations, including while serving as Director for Asian Economic Affairs at the White House National Security Council from 2006 to 2008.

Earlier in his career, Ambassador Tong served as Economic Minister-Counselor in Seoul, Counselor for Environment, Science and Health at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Deputy Treasury Attaché in Tokyo, and as an economic officer in Manila. He published research on Japanese macroeconomic trends and U.S.-Japan economic diplomacy as a Visiting Scholar with Tokyo University’s Faculty of Economics, and before joining the Foreign Service, was an Associate with the Boston Consulting Group in Tokyo.

Ambassador Tong holds a B.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and studied economics at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute. He has also studied at the Beijing Institute of Education, Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies in Taipei, Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Tokyo, and International Christian University in Tokyo.

Ambassador Tong speaks and reads both Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. He was born in Ohio and raised in New England. The son of a collegiate athletic coach, Ambassador Tong enjoys tennis, golf and other sports. He is married to Dr. Mika Marumoto. They have three grown children.