C.B. Sung, co-founder and the founding Chairman of The 1990 Institute. was a Shanghai, China native who graduated from Shanghai High School, received a Bachelor’s degree in engineering from Chiao-Tung University, S.M. in Engineering from MIT, and a MBA from Harvard Business School.
In the 1950s, he began a career with the Bendix Corporation in Southfield, Michigan, where he rose up in the ranks served as the Corporate Vice President of Engineering and Research at the Bendix Corporation in 1967 and subsequently as Corporate Vice President and Group Executive in charge of the, Advanced Technology Group consisting of seven divisions/subsidiaries from coast to coast. He was the first Asian American to have been elected a corporate officer in a Fortune 100 corporation.
In his 22 years with Bendix from 1952 to 1974, the following new industries/products have been developed under Mr. Sung’s direction: numerically controlled machine tools, second generation Channeltron night vision systems, automotive electronic fuel injection, computer graphics with free-cursor digitizers and image data processing systems.
By the early 70’s, C.B. became Executive V.P., pushing the glass ceiling for minorities in upper management for Fortune 500 companies. In 1974 C.B. and Beulah moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he became a partner with Arthur D. Little and acquired eight independent manufacturing firms of his own. Products made by his companies were used in the iron and steel industry, aviation, semiconductors, electronics, electro-optics, data processing and telecommunications. He acted as Chairman for the business which gave him extensive managerial experience.
In 1979, C.B. and his wife Beulah moved to San Francisco and started Unison Group together, engaging in consulting, international trade and joint-venture investments between Pacific Rim countries aimed at strengthen economic and cultural ties between the U.S. and China. With over 39 Sino-foreign joint ventures established in China to their credit ,two of their most notable joint ventures were the Sheraton Great Wall Hotel — the first Chinese-American five star joint-venture hotel in Beijing China — and the Beijing Jeep joint-venture. Both were significant contributions to his homeland and the relations between the US and China.
C.B. was also active in many other organizations. He is a cofounder and Director of UniControl Inc. and Communication Intelligence Corporation. He also served as a member of the Advisory council for the Hopkins-Nanjing Center and the U.S. National Committee of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) a
Philanthropically, C.B. also pursued endeavors on several fronts, including publishing books on Chinese architecture and the art of bonsai. He was a member of the Committee of 100 and founded the 1990 Institute, both non-profit organizations established to deepen relations and understanding between the American and Chinese people. These organizations took him to the capitols of China (Beijing) and the U.S. (Washington DC) to meet or have discussions with dignitaries like President Ronald Reagan, China’s General Secretary Jiang Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongji, Vice-Chairman of P.R.C. Rong Yiren and President Bill Clinton, to name a few. As a scholar and entrepreneur, C.B. Sung had a rare outlook on life:
“As the saying goes,” he often remarks, “we are born barehanded without a penny to our name, and can take nothing with us when we die. When we live, we must do our outmost to benefit the society and make a difference!” And C.B. Sung practiced what he preached.