Meet the StarKist Management Team
Sam Hwi Lee was named President and Chief Executive Officer of StarKist Co. Additionally, he serves on the StarKist Board of Directors. With a Ph.D in food science and additional educational experience in business, Lee has more than 30 years of deep expertise in the consumer packaged goods food industry. He has held myriad leadership positions among some of the largest and highly recognized global food manufacturers, including Dole Food Company, Nestle USA and Nestle Korea - of which he held the President position. Lee has managed and significantly increased the business of some of the world's most highly respected household names, including Taster's Choice Coffee, Nestle Hot Chocolate and Kit Kat, to name a few. Previous positions include Senior Technologist, Armour Foods Company; Director of Product Development, Dole Food Company; as well as several positions spanning an impressive 25-year career with Nestle, such as President of Nutrition Division at Nestle USA, Inc. and President of Nestle Korea, Inc. Lee will be based in Pittsburgh at the StarKist headquarters during his interim assignment. The Dongwon Group will initiate a search for a permanent successor.
Namjung Kim, Chief Operating Officer
Namjung Kim is Chief Operating Officer at StarKist Co. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Korea University, located in Seoul, South Korea. His lasting relationship with the tuna industry took off in 1996 at the Dongwon F&B tuna plant in Changwon. He became Product Manager of the sea laver category in 1999. Namjung went on to receive his MBA from the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business in 2003.
Namjung returned to Dongwon F&B in 2004 to work as Marketing Strategy Manager until 2006. He continued to diversify his business acumen by leading the Finance & Planning Department of Dongwon Industries Co. In 2008, he advanced as the head of the Finance & Planning Department at Dongwon Systems, whose business portfolio includes food packaging, communications devices and construction. The following year he was promoted to Vice President of its construction arm, further expanding his business spectrum. Immediately before joining StarKist, he served as Executive Vice President at Dongwon Enterprise since 2011, the holding company of the Dongwon conglomerate. In 2012, Namjung joined StarKist Co. as Chief Operating Officer.
Stephen L. Hodge, Senior Vice President, Sales
Steve is Senior Vice President, Sales of StarKist Co. He earned his Bachelor of Science as well as Masters in Business from California Coast University. Steve has over 26 years in the Grocery and Seafood industries. He began his career at Dixon Marketing, Inc., a military food broker in Kinston, NC as a field sales rep. While progressing through the organization, he ascended to Vice President National Accounts & Business Planning where he managed all sales activity at the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA). Steve also spent two years as Vice President Exchange Division running all sales and operations for the organization.
Steve moved to Pittsburgh in 1998 to work for H.J. Heinz Co. managing StarKist as well as other Heinz business for their military group. In 2007, Steve moved to Grand Rapids MI where he was the Team Leader for Del Monte at Meijer where he led the team to double digit sales and profit growth for both years there. In Sept 2008 he was promoted to Director Field Sales – StarKist and led the sales group for StarKist as well as the liaison role between StarKist and Del Monte. He moved over to StarKist directly as the Senior Vice President, Sales in 2010.
Hyung Joo Kim, Senior Vice President, Finance
Hyung Joo is Senior Vice President, Finance, at StarKist Co. He is originally from Seoul, South Korea. In 1981 he earned his management degree from Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul. After graduating from college, Hyung Joo served in the Republic of Korea Army for three years. He began to work for the Samsung group in 1984 as an Accounting Associate. Following a 17-year career with Samsung, Hyung Joo moved on to Kyobo Life Insurance as General Manager of Financial Planning for a year. Then in 2007, he went to work for various venture capital firms as Chief Finance Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
Hyung Joo joined Dongwon Industries Co., a world-class fisheries company, in 2008 as Internal Auditor. In 2011, he was promoted to Chief Finance Officer of Dongwon F&B. In 2012, Hyung Joo joined StarKist Co. as Senior Vice President, Finance.