Culture & People

Executive Perspective: Justin Kim on his role as Head of SK hynix America

By July 14, 2021 August 17th, 2021 No Comments
Celebrating his 30th work anniversary with SK hynix this year, Juseon (Justin) Kim has seen the company through three decades of growth, change and evolution.

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Celebrating his 30th work anniversary with SK hynix this year, Juseon (Justin) Kim has seen the company through three decades of growth, change and evolution.

Starting in February 1991 as a member of the Semiconductor FAB production team at Hyundai Electronics, Justin has worked his way through nearly every one of the company’s departments in the intervening years.

Over the years, he has dealt with issues of international trade for the Global Sales and Marketing (GSM) team, worked in finance on the Accounting team, and moved through every function of the Sales division from Sales and Planning to Sales Operations. In 2017, he assumed the position of Head of Sales Division for GSM, where he spent three years before ultimately landing in his current role as CEO of SK hynix America.

“When I retrospect my 30 years in SK hynix, I think I’ve worked at every different department except HR and Procurement. All departments take important roles of the business and all members are connected to make a great value of the company. With that said, this great value brings great performance too. We all should remember each and every one of us is very important and valuable in making an impact here at SK hynix.”

Persistence & Personability

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As an experienced coordinator who loves jogging, persistence is one of Justin’s most valued attributes which brought him here throughout the past three decades. Such talent is no doubt a best chance for SK hynix America to navigate through an era full of volatilities, and as a newly appointed head of SK hynix America, Justin certainly has his own roadmap to fulfill SK hynix’s SUPEX spirit.

“I am confident that the US office will continuously grow but there will be a growth pain at the same time. Currently our goal is to develop agile and dynamic corporate culture. We also need to close the cultural differences and different backgrounds. I hope the US office create great corporate culture and become a role model to other companies in Silicon Valley.”

* SUPEX: Stands for “Super Excellent Level,” which means the highest level attainable by human ability.

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The secret to Kim’s success, it seems, is a dynamic mix of tenacious persistence and a people-first attitude. Among his many achievements at the company, one particular triumph stands out.

“One of my memorable moments was the historical sales record in 2018, when I worked as a head of Sales in GSM. At that time, we worked very hard to make contracts with big customers and overcame the technical gap over the competitors. The market condition was good but most of all, it was our members’ full support to make such historical performance.”

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A self-described extrovert, Justin is just as committed to the happiness and wellbeing of the people of SK hynix as he is with the quality of the products they make. This attitude has allowed him to create meaningful, long-lasting relationships with employees and customers alike that create a shared sense of trust and value.

“I am an extroverted person who loves to hang out with people. The best part of my job is to meet customers… There is no doubt that keeping a long and strategic relationship with customers is one of the most important things in business. Good relationships lead to an increase of market share. When we face an over-supply situation, these customers make return of gratitude by picking us as their prior supplier.”

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During the pandemic, this level of connection and collaboration became more difficult – Justin led the company towards a remote work model that gracefully bridged the gaps brought on by remote work. As the country tiptoes back into post-pandemic life, Justin is looking forward to the phased reopening of the office and the opportunity to meet with customers in person once again.

“Recently, we started our phased reopening of the office as the pandemic situation has improved drastically after the vaccination administration. Our US office will be fully open by the end of September. Our customers are slowly going back to normal as well. I am very excited to meet customers outside of California from next week.”

Success in the States

SK hynix America Sales Team participating in a volunteering event with their CEO Justin and HPE

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With company experience both in Korea and in the United States, Justin brings a unique, cross-cultural perspective to the seat of CEO in the Americas. During his first six months in the role, he has remarked on the unique strengths and opportunities of the organization – handling not only sales and marketing, but also business development like Venture Investment, CMOS image sensor (CIS) and Government Relations (GR) which is almost everything except production.

Beyond the business model, he has been equally impressed with the team’s abilities and culture that make it unique, noting that “a mixed organization of excellent talents from Silicon Valley and expats from Korea creates great synergy.”

“We have overcome many cultural difficulties and gained potential energy. We are a harmonized group of people beyond different backgrounds and culture. SK hynix America is recognized as the most trusted memory supplier among customers and our competence in business/products is growing every year. Being in California is a great strength, too. We enjoy a terrific environment and weather all year and benefit being close to other leading tech companies. I also appreciate that HQ supports our business in many ways.”

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The Path Ahead

As the semiconductor landscape continues to grow and evolve, Justin is confident that SK hynix America will adapt right alongside it. He intends to lead the company not only towards business expansion, but also towards future business potentials, R&D investments and ESG activities that will help it compete with other leading companies in Silicon Valley.

“Walls and limits between industries are disappearing. More and more companies with different backgrounds collaborate each other to make new. I hope SK hynix America keeps up its good work that one day it will lead collaborations with customers and other people to pioneer new ways for happiness and prosperity.”