Born and raised in Hong Kong, John emigrated with his family to the United States when he was a Form II student at La Salle College. He continued his education at Beha Junior High School 60 and Stuyvesant High School in New York City. He studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and went on to complete master degrees in Bilingual Education at Boston State College and Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He worked in the Boston Public Schools as a teacher and in curriculum development.
John returned to work as an Administrative Officer in the Hong Kong Government in 1982. He took up a number of posts in commerce and finance, and served as Private Secretary to Governor Chris Patten from 1995-97.
After reunification, he was appointed as Director-General of the Economic and Trade Office in London, Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Secretary for Planning and Lands, Secretary for Commerce, Innovation and Technology,
Director of the Chief Executive’s Office and in 2007, Financial Secretary where he served until 2017. He ran for the post of Chief Executive and lost.
John is currently engaged in a number of diverse activities. He is the Founder of Esperanza, a non-profit organisation, the Vice Chairman of Ion Pacific, a financial institution that specialises in technology investments, the Senior Advisor of Bowtie, a virtual insurance company, a board member of the Greater Bay Area Homeland Investments Ltd., an advisor of Q Venture Partners, a VC firm with innovative and design capabilities, the host of a weekly music program on Commercial Radio and the fencing coach of La Salle College.
He is also serving as directors for a number of non-profit organisations, including the MIT Innovation Node, Tennis Association, the Dalton School (an international school) and Hatch (a subsidiary of Social Ventures Hong Kong that provides flexible employment for women).
John is married with two children and three grand-children.