60.2 F
Los Angeles
Monday, April 22, 2024

José E. Feliciano, owner of Chelsea, sheds light on potential of Korea Conference

Must read

José E. Feliciano during an interview at Clearlake’s office in Santa Monica on June 20. [Sangjin Kim, The Korea Daily]
The Korea Conference, a platform bridging Korean innovative technologies with American investors, is set to make a significant impact during its upcoming event on August 16 and 17. With the addition of industry “big names” as advisors, the Korea Conference is garnering high expectations and anticipation.

Among the esteemed advisors of the Korea Conference is José E. Feliciano, 50, the owner of English Premier League (EPL) club Chelsea. Feliciano, a renowned global investment tycoon with assets valued at $4.3 billion according to Forbes, co-founded Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. alongside Behdad Eghbali in 2006, when he was just 33 years old. In May 2022, he acquired ownership of the prestigious EPL soccer club, Chelsea.

The Korea Daily seized the opportunity to interview Feliciano at Clearlake’s office in Santa Monica, marking his first-ever interview with a Korean media outlet. Presented below is an edited excerpt from the insightful interview.

– Can you provide a brief description of Football Club Chelsea?
“Chelsea is one of the top clubs in the English Premier League (EPL) with a vast global fan base and a long history of winning titles. With assets worth $3.2 billion and an annual revenue of $540 million, it ranks seventh among soccer clubs worldwide. Clearlake acquired a stake in Chelsea last year and became the club’s owner. Our goal is to develop Chelsea into a global brand that meets the needs of fans worldwide.”

– Are you familiar with South Korean players in European leagues?
“I am well aware of them. Players like Son Heung-min from Tottenham in the EPL and Kim Min-jae from Napoli in Serie A of the Italian soccer league have left a remarkable impression. They are among the few Asian players making their mark in European leagues. Though challenging at the moment, it would be fantastic to have the opportunity to work with them.”

– How familiar are you with Korea?
“Korea is a country I am acquainted with. While I may not pronounce them perfectly, I know how to say ‘thank you’ and ‘hello’ in Korean. I visit Korea once or twice a year for business purposes, so I have had the chance to try some Korean food. I particularly enjoy kimchi stew, bibimbap, and Korean barbecue. In September 2023, I will be traveling to Korea to attend the World Knowledge Forum, a global business forum.”

– What is your opinion on Korean as a brand?
“I have been following K-pop and Korean brands closely. I even attended a BTS concert at SoFi Stadium two years ago. Korea is gaining global recognition not only in entertainment and sports but also in various fields such as information technology (IT), fashion, and biotechnology. Many Korean companies have the potential to further expand by entering the U.S. market.”

– As a 1.5 generation Latino entrepreneur, do you feel a sense of responsibility towards the community?
“I actively support several Latino community nonprofits. Having been born in Puerto Rico, I arrived in the U.S. at the age of 17, obtained my undergraduate degree from Princeton, and pursued my graduate degree at Stanford. The United States is a country where diversity serves as its greatest strength and fosters possibilities. However, numerous individuals possess similar talents and potential but are denied the opportunity to flourish due to the lack of opportunity. It is my duty to provide support to those with talent, returning the help I received. Creating a positive cycle of influence is essential. I find it beautiful how our relationship is committed to contributing mutual growth.”

– How did you come to know Korea Conference President Jenny Chu?
“I first met Jenny two years ago when Centroid, a Korean investment firm that owns golf equipment manufacturer TaylorMade, invested in Clearlake’s Concert Golf Partners. She is an exceptional businesswoman and a key figure in the industry, acting as a bridge between prominent names in the field. She is the perfect person to connect Korean companies with the American business world through the Korea Conference.”

– What are your expectations for Korean companies participating in the Korea Conference?
“Korean companies possess unique skills and know-how. I eagerly anticipate witnessing the synergy created by the convergence of their innovative technologies and investor support, leading to mutually beneficial outcomes. To use a soccer analogy, the Korea Conference is akin to the beginning of the league season. Experienced industry players, represented by the Korea Conference Advisory Board, join forces with promising young players from Korean startups on the field. The Korea Conference could mark the team’s first win together, serving as the stage where their talents come to fruition.”

– How do you view your role as an advisor to the Korea Conference?
“I wish to emphasize the advantages of cultural and technological diversity. Particularly, the U.S. shows a keen interest in the Korean-led IT and solutions sector. It is crucial to highlight their unique strengths and cultivate robust business relationships with investors who recognize this potential. In the English Premier League and at Chelsea, we scout for exceptional players worldwide, including from Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. I hope that Korean companies will thrive in the U.S. business arena, just as great players come together to create synergies on the field.”

BY HOONSIK WOO    [support@koreadaily.com]