John Lichtefeld is a Principal at The Asia Group, where he oversees the firm’s growing Southeast Asia practice and supports clients and projects in Mainland Southeast Asia. In this capacity, he manages a team of professional consultants responsible for developing and supporting the implementation of sophisticated investment and government relations strategies to help clients navigate evolving geopolitical dynamics and leverage broader regional and sectoral trends. John has also been integral to The Asia Group’s expansion in-region, including the launching of TAG’s Vietnam Office in Hanoi, where he is posted periodically throughout the year.
John has over a decade of experience operating in markets in Southeast Asia and has lived and traveled extensively throughout the region. This experience informs his approach to and understanding of the unique dynamics and investment challenges in these markets and provides him with a nuanced perspective on the political economy of foreign investment. Over the course of his career, John has supported projects in the automotive, business process outsourcing, defense, e-commerce, manufacturing, media, non-profit, power & energy, sustainability, technology, telecommunications, and tourism & hospitality sectors.
Prior to joining The Asia Group, John acted as a Foreign Legal Consultant with Singaporean law firm Kelvin Chia’s Yangon office, working alongside regional consultants and local attorneys. He was later seconded to Myanmar’s largest telecommunications provider, KSGM, where he served as in-house counsel during the implementation of the country’s new telecommunications law. Prior to working as an attorney in Yangon, John lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where he conducted legal research with the Cambodian Center for Independent Media and worked briefly as a journalist with the Cambodia Daily.
Outside of advising private sector clients, John has dedicated significant time to researching and consulting on the impacts of climate and environmental change in Southeast Asia, as well as the ongoing clean energy transition throughout the region. In Phnom Penh, he staffed meetings for the Cambodia Climate Change Network, and later in Yangon, he served as an independent consultant to the Bangkok-based USAID-backed Mekong ARCC climate adaptation initiative. Since returning to the United States, John has continued his work in this area, serving as a Non-resident Fellow for The Stimson Center’s Southeast Asia/Energy, Water, and Sustainability Program and the Center for Climate and Security, regularly publishing, giving talks, and teaching classes on climate change and its security and economic implications for Southeast Asia.
John has a Master of Arts in Security Policy Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University, a J.D. from Georgetown Law, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. When he is not reading or writing about Southeast Asia, he is an avid cyclist, amateur chef, and occasional disc jockey.