John L. Holden

John L. Holden, Managing Director, leads our China practice.

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. Prior to joining McLarty in 2019, Holden 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 a national award for service to education as well as the country’s Friendship Award.

From 1998 to 2005, Holden was President of the National Committee on United States–China Relations, where he created legacy programs such as the Public Intellectuals Program (PIP), the U.S.-China Young Leaders Forum, and the U.S.-China Foreign Policy Colloquium. For the twelve prior years, he was employed by Cargill, where he played key roles in the establishment the firm’s first ten 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 in 1997. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and is Senior Associate (Non-resident) of the Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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).