John Holden

China Business, PR & Education

#China #Business development #Commerce #Commodities #Corporate social responsibility #International markets #Investment #Leadership development #Marketing #Negotiation #Philanthropy

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About John Holden

Location: CHINA

Availability: Any time

Timezone: Beijing

A leading expert on China with over three decades experience in business, track II diplomacy, consulting and education, John L. Holden is Associate Dean of the Yenching Academy, a center for the interdisciplinary study of China at Peking University that provides full fellowships for top college graduates from around the globe. He is also Professor of Management Practice at the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, where his teaching focuses on business ethics, corporate social responsibility, and communications.


Holden is Nonresident Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Senior Adviser to Vermilion Partners.  Until recently he was the Beijing-based Senior Counselor and Managing Director of Hill & Knowlton. Previously he was Chairman of Shaklee (China) Ltd., a wholly‐owned subsidiary of Shaklee Corporation that he established in Beijing in 2005.


From 1998 to 2005 Holden was President of the New York-based National Committee on United States‐China Relations, where he initiated a number of the Committee’s flagship programs, including the Public Intellectuals Program (PIP); the Young Leaders Forum; the U.S. Foreign Policy Colloquium; and the Student Leaders Exchange.


Previously, Holden was Chairman and General Manager of the China holding company of Cargill, Inc., where he was employed from 1986 to 1998. At this American agribusiness firm he had responsibility for establishing its China operations, which grew to include oilseed crushing, animal feed, hybrid seed, fertilizer, malt, financial services and commodity trading businesses. He also served as the manager of Cargill’s energy futures brokerage in Geneva, Switzerland.


From 1980 to 1986, Holden served as general manager of BankAmerica World Trade Corporation’s PRC business; general manager of the Asia subsidiary of Alimenta S.A.; China trading manager of Unison International; and marketing manager of a translation company. He also served as interpreter for National Geographic teams researching stories on the Yellow River and Tibet in 1981.


Holden has been active in the American Chambers of Commerce in both Hong Kong and Beijing, and served as chairman of the board of governors of the latter organization in 1997. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and serves as advisor to a number of not-for-profit organizations.


After completing a B.A. magna cum laude in Chinese Language and Literature at the University of Minnesota, Holden received a M.A. in the same subject from Stanford University, where he completed all requirements, except the dissertation, for a Ph.D. focusing on classical Chinese literature. He spent two years studying Chinese in Taiwan in the 1970’s, has lived and worked in Hong Kong for seven years, and has lived and worked in Beijing in four stints since 1980 for a total of 17 years; he first traveled to the People’s Republic of China in 1974. Mr. Holden speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, reads and writes Chinese, and has good conversational French and some rusty Japanese. He is married and has two adult daughters.