Thursday, June 30, 2011

Noted Economist Tapped for Los Angeles Port Board

Sung Won Sohn, a college professor who once served as an economic adviser to President Richard Nixon, has been tapped by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to fill a vacant seat on the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners.

A renowned Korean American economist, Sohn currently serves as the Smith Professor of Economics and Finance at California State University, Channel Islands. He is also vice chairman of retail clothing chain Forever 21 and is a member of the board of directors for Claremont Graduate University, Cryo-Cell International and Western Alliance Bancorporation.

From 2005 to 2007, Sohn served as president and CEO of Los Angeles-based Hanmi Financial Corp, the largest Korean American Bank in the United States.

He previously served as executive vice president and chief economist of Wells Fargo from 1998 to 2005. Sohn joined financial services firm Norwest in 1974 and served in various roles until the firm was purchased by Wells Fargo Bank in 1998.

During the Nixon administration, Sohn was a senior economist on the President's three-member Council of Economic Advisers, where he was responsible for economic and legislative matters pertaining to the Federal Reserve and financial markets.

"His decades of experience in banking, management and economic forecasting will help the Port of Los Angeles remain one of the economic anchors of our city," Villaraigosa said in a statement.

Sohn was recognized in 2007 by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce as "Executive of the Year." The Wall Street Journal in 2006 named Sohn as the most accurate economist in the United States. In 2002 he was named to the Time Magazine Board of Economists and in 2001 was named by Bloomberg News as one of the five most accurate economic forecasters in the United States.

Sohn, if confirmed by the Los Angeles City Council, will fill the port board seat vacated by Kaylynn Kim. Earlier this month, Kim resigned her position on the port board – after a tenure of six years – to spend more time with her family.