Event Details

As US companies face supply chain challenges stemming from COVID-19 and US-China trade frictions, many US manufacturers operating in China are considering relocating production out of China with Southeast Asia as one of the primary options. In this session, McLarty Associates will provide a briefing on the opportunities and challenges in improving the resilience of supply chains for those exploring manufacturing investments within ASEAN. The McLarty team will discuss what is happening on the ground in key markets such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines; their strengths and weaknesses vis-à-vis each country, and how all of this is evolving in the context of US-China relations and the upcoming presidential election.


  • Robert Blake, Jr. (Senior Director of McLarty Associates)

    Robert Blake, Jr.

    Senior Director of McLarty Associates

    Ambassador Blake served for 31 years in the State Department in a wide range of leadership positions. From 2013-2016, he served as the US Ambassador to Indonesia, where he focused on building stronger business and educational ties between the US and Indonesia, while also developing cooperation to help Indonesia reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2009, he was nominated by President Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, serving from 2009-2013, for which he was awarded the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award. From 2006-2009, he served concurrently as US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Prior to that, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission in India from 2003-2006, where he was named the worldwide DCM of the Year by the State Department.

    Most recently, Ambassador Blake has held a wide variety of key State Department positions as well, including Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs from 2001-2003, Deputy Executive Secretary for the Department of State from 2000-2001, and Senior Desk Officer responsible for economic and political relations with Turkey from 1998-2000. He has also served in Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Nigeria.

    He is currently Chairman of the Board of the US-Indonesia Society, and he is a member of the board of the Asia Foundation and the Bhutan Foundation.

    Ambassador Blake holds a BA from Harvard College, and an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.

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  • David B. Shear (Senior Advisor at McLarty Associates)

    David B. Shear

    Senior Advisor at McLarty Associates

    He previously served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs from 2014 to 2016, when he performed the duties of Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

    Prior to 2014, Ambassador Shear served for 32 years in the US Foreign Service, most recently as the US Ambassador to Vietnam. He has also served in Sapporo, Beijing, Tokyo, and Kuala Lumpur. In Washington, Ambassador Shear has served in the Offices of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean Affairs and as the Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs. He was Director of the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs in 2008-2009 and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs in 2009-2011.

    Ambassador Shear was a Rusk Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy from 1998-1999. He is the recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award and the Defense Department’s Civilian Meritorious Service Award for his work in US-Japan defense relations.

    Ambassador Shear graduated from Earlham College and has a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He has attended Waseda University, Tai-wan National University, and Nanjing University, and he speaks Chinese and Japanese.

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  • Angeline Thangaperakasam (Regional Director of McLarty Associates)

    Angeline Thangaperakasam

    Regional Director of McLarty Associates

    Ms. Thangaperakasam is a former foreign service officer in the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She held a variety of roles, including Desk Officer for Europe, serving at the Singaporean Embassy in Manila, and handling international visits and protocol matters.

    Ms. Thangaperakasam returned to McLarty Associates in 2015 after serving as a Senior Associate at the firm in 2011-2012, advising clients on matters in East and Southeast Asia.

    Prior to joining McLarty, Ms. Thangaperakasam was a Manager at the US-ASEAN Business Council in Washington, DC, where she monitored, analyzed, and updated Council members on economic and political developments in the Philippines and Singapore, as well as region-wide defense and security matters.

    Ms. Thangaperakasam also served as a Program Associate with the Asia Society India Centre in Mumbai, where she monitored and developed programming around political, economic, and cultural trends for a wide commercial and policy audience in Mumbai.

    Ms. Thangaperakasam has lived in several Southeast Asian cities, as well as in Mumbai, India and Kampala, Uganda. She is a graduate of the National University of Singapore.

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  • Thomas Hubbard (Senior Director of McLarty Associates)

    Thomas Hubbard

    Senior Director of McLarty Associates

    A career foreign service officer for nearly forty years, he served as US Ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2001 to 2004, and before that as Ambassador to the Philippines from 1996 to 2000. Earlier in his career, he served seven years in Japan and was Deputy Chief of Mission and acting Ambassador in Malaysia. He held key Washington postings, including Philippines Desk Officer, Country Director for Japan, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs. A fluent Japanese speaker, he devoted half his career to Japan-US relations.

    Increasingly involved in Korean Peninsular affairs in the 1990s, Ambassador Hubbard was a principal negotiator of the 1994 Agreed Framework aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and headed the first senior level US government delegation to North Korea. He was also President Clinton’s envoy to promote human rights and democracy in Burma.

    Ambassador Hubbard currently serves as the Chairman of The Korea Society in New York City and sits on numerous advisory boards. He received his BA in political science from the University of Alabama and has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Maryland and the University of Alabama.

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  • William Itoh (Senior Advisor at McLarty Associates)

    William Itoh

    Senior Advisor at McLarty Associates

    He also serves as professor of practice in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ambassador Itoh had a distinguished career in public service with the Department of State. From 1995-1999 he served as US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand. Prior to his appointment to Bangkok, he was Executive Secretary of the National Security Council at the White House (1993-1995).

    During his career as a foreign service officer, Ambassador Itoh served abroad in the US Embassy in London (1976-1978) and as the US Consul General to Western Australia in Perth (1986-1990), in addition to his assignment in Thailand. His Washington assignments included service in the Office of the Undersecretary for Political Affairs, the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and the Bureau of Congressional Relations. He was Deputy Executive Secretary and acting Executive Secretary of the Department of State from 1991-1993. As Ambassador to Thailand, Ambassador Itoh was the 1998 recipient of the Department of State’s Charles S. Cobb Award for outstanding support of the American business community. He was also awarded an honorary PhD in Economics by Khon Kaen University, presented by His Majesty the King in December 1998, in recognition of his efforts in support of Thailand’s recovery during the Asian financial crisis.

    He was assistant professor of history at California State University, Humboldt. Ambassador Itoh was commissioned as an officer in the US Air Force reserve in 1967 and served on active duty 1968-1969. He attended the National Defense University and was a Distinguished Graduate of the National War College class of 1991. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Washington International Trade Association and the Board of Trustees of the Kenan Institute Asia in Bangkok. He currently serves as President of the World Affairs Council of Albuquerque.

    Ambassador Itoh was born in Tokyo, Japan and attended secondary schools in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico with a BA in social science and an MA in history and anthropology.

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  • Steven Okun (Senior Advisor at McLarty Associates)

    Steven Okun

    Senior Advisor at McLarty Associates

    The Founder and CEO of APAC Advisors, Mr. Okun is widely considered a leader on corporate public affairs, sustainability and stakeholder engagement in the Asia Pacific region. He is also the ASEAN representative for the Emerging Market Private Equity Association (EMPEA).

    Living and working in Singapore since 2003, Mr. Okun created and led Asia Pacific public affairs for both global investment firm KKR and global logistics firm UPS, as well as being a leader of multiple business chambers and industry associations, including having been elected three times each as Chairman of both the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore and the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC). He remains on the boards of both.

    As KKR’s first Director of Asia Pacific Public Affairs, Mr. Okun’s responsibilities encompassed government affairs, communications, stakeholder engagement and environmental and social responsibility issues for KKR, as well as in supporting those efforts for its portfolio companies across the region.

    In particular, his responsibilities included working on Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) initiatives. Also, he created and led KKR’s impact investing pro bono program, a model for strategic philanthropic engagement for which KKR was awarded the Gold Standard Award for Corporate Citizenship by PublicAffairsAsia.

    Mr. Okun led UPS Asia’s public affairs matters on aviation, competition and trade from 2003 until 2010, and before that worked in UPS’ Washington, DC office. He was instrumental in UPS Airlines obtaining it first-ever authority to operate in China in 2001.

    Mr. Okun served in the Administration of President Bill Clinton as Deputy General Counsel at the US Department of Transportation, being at the Department from 1994 to 1999. For his public service, he was awarded the Secretary’s Award for Special Service Commendation.

    He represents and advocates the views of the US business community in Asia, including as a periodic guest host on CNBC. A sought after expert on public affairs, he speaks frequently in the media, at universities, businesses and conferences across the region, as well as is the author of numerous articles.

    Mr. Okun received his BA from the University of Virginia and his JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.

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  • John Holden (Senior Director of McLarty Associates)

    John Holden

    Senior Director of McLarty Associates

    Holden’s China career spans more than four decades, twenty-eight years of which he spent on the ground in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Taipei. He most recently served as President and CEO of the US-China Strong Foundation after a decade in Beijing as Managing Director and Senior Counselor for Hill+Knowlton Strategies; Founding Chairman of Shaklee (China) Ltd.; Associate Dean at Peking University’s Yenching Academy and Professor of Practice at its Guanghua School of Management. While at Peking University, Holden received the Friendship Award, the most prestigious honor granted by China to foreigners.

    From 1998 to 2005, Holden was President of the National Committee on United States–China Relations. For the twelve prior years, he was employed by Cargill, where he played key roles in the establishment of a wide range of businesses in China and served as chairman of its China holding company.

    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. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Senior Associate (Non-resident) of the Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and serves as adviser to or director of a number of business, philanthropic, and educational organizations.

    Also known by his Chinese name 何立强,Holden has a solid foundation in literary and Mandarin Chinese, which he studied at the University of Minnesota (BA magna cum laude) and Stanford University (MA and all PhD coursework).

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