Sung Won Sohn

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Sohn.
Sung Won Sohn
Born Seoul, South Korea
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Florida
Harvard Business School
University of Pittsburgh
Known for Economist
Korean name
Hangul 손성원
Hanja 孫聖源[1]
Revised Romanization Son Seong-won
McCune–Reischauer Son Sǒng'wǒn

Sung Won Sohn (born 1945) is a Korean American economist, noted for his skill in economic forecasting.[2][3]

Personal life[edit]

Sohn was born and raised in South Korea. He graduated from Gwangju No. 1 High School in 1962.[1] He came to the United States that year to study economics as an undergraduate at the University of Florida in Gainesville on a partial scholarship.[2][3] He earned his Master's in economics from Wayne State University, and then his Ph.D. in the same field from University of Pittsburgh, where his advisor was Marina von Neumann Whitman.[2] He also earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.[3]

Sohn's first wife Barbara Stevens died in a car crash on New Year's Eve 1980.[citation needed] He and Barbara had two daughters, Anne and Rebecca. Anne was married to Joe Bissen, with whom she had one son, Oliver; she died on January 25, 2010 at age 39.[4] Sohn eventually had remarried and had a son, Andrew, who studies at the Harvard-Westlake School.[2]


Sohn's Ph.D. advisor Whitman left Pittsburgh to become a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisors under the Nixon administration; she was so impressed by his work that she brought him on board as senior economist.[2] On the council, he was responsible for economic and legislative matters pertaining to the Federal Reserve and financial markets.[citation needed] His report on the Eurodollar market earned him attention from the president.[2] David Rockefeller introduced Sohn to the president of the Northwest National Bank of Minnesota, where Sohn would move for his next job.[2] He remained with the bank through various name changes and mergers, as it became Norwest and then purchased Wells Fargo in 1998, and rose to the position of chief economist.[2]

In 2005, Sohn moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to take up a position as president and CEO of Hanmi Bank, replacing Jae-Wahn Yoo. After more than three decades in Minnesota, Sohn stated that he was looking forward to moving to a warmer climate with a larger Korean American population.[5][6] He retired from that position in December 2007.[7] He would later[when?] become the vice chairman of fashion retailer Forever 21.[2] In 2008, he joined the faculty of California State University, Channel Islands as a professor of economics.[8] In 2011, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed him a member of the Los Angeles Harbor Commission, which has oversight authority for the Port of Los Angeles.[2]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Sohn was named one of the top five most accurate economic forecasters in 2001 by Bloomberg News.[citation needed] In 2004, a Bloomberg Markets magazine survey ranked Sohn as the U.S.' second-best GDP forecaster for the 12 months ending in June 2004.[9] In 2012 the Wall Street Journal again ranked him as one of the U.S.' best economic forecasters; he was the only representative of academia ranked in the top 10, and one of just five in the top 50.[8]


  1. ^ a b 서경호 [Seo Gyeong-ho] (2003-12-02), "'조기유학의 원조' 손성원 美 웰스파고 수석부행장 ['Because I was an international student': USA Wells Fargo executive vice president Sohn Sung-Won]", JoongAng Ilbo, retrieved 2011-09-29 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lifsher, Marc (2011-07-24), "How I Made It: Sung Won Sohn", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 2011-09-29 
  3. ^ a b c "웰스파고 손성원 부행장: FRB 의장 자리에 관심있다 [Federal Reserve Board chairman is paying attention to Wells Fargo executive vice president Sohn Sung-Won]", Money Today, 2007-07-12, retrieved 2011-09-29 
  4. ^ "Anne Marie Sohn-Bissen", Minnesota Star Tribune, 2010-01-28, retrieved 2012-06-04 
  5. ^ Reckard, E. Scott (2005-01-04), "Sohn Expected to Shine over Hanmi Financial", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 2012-06-12 
  6. ^ Berry, Kate (2005-06-20), "Bank shot: Sung Won Sohn plans to diversify Hanmi by marketing outside the Korean community and selling products outside the real estate sector", AllBusiness, retrieved 2011-09-29 
  7. ^ "Korean-American bank Hanmi says CEO Sohn retires", Reuters, 2007-12-27, retrieved 2012-06-12 
  8. ^ a b Monaghan, Peter (2012-03-04), "At a Small Campus in California, a Top-Ranked Economist Predicts What's Next", The Chronicle of Higher Education, retrieved 2012-06-12 
  9. ^ Torres, Carlos (2004-10-29), "U.S. 3rd-Qtr Growth Probably Rose at a 4.3% Pace, Survey Shows", Bloomberg News, retrieved 2012-06-12 

External links[edit]