June 20, 2017

Robert Roche, Founder and President of Roche Enterprises, Joins CNAS Board of Directors

By Neal Urwitz

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) today announced that Robert Roche, Founder and President of Roche Enterprises, Chairman and CEO of Acorn International, and Co-Founder of the Cachet Hotel Group, has joined the CNAS Board of Directors. Along with his fellow Board members, Roche will help provide oversight and set CNAS’ strategic direction.

“We are excited to have Robert join our Board,” said Kurt Campbell, CNAS co-founder and Board of Directors Chair. “Having lived in Asia for over three decades and by working diligently on both sides of the Pacific, he provides CNAS both an on-the-ground perspective and a businessman’s point of view.”

CNAS Chief Executive Officer Michèle Flournoy echoed Campbell’s comments. “Robert’s experience as a global business leader will provide invaluable expertise to the CNAS Board of Directors. His insights and engagement will help CNAS have even greater impact in Asia – his particular focus – which has never been more important to U.S. interests. We are pleased to have the opportunity to welcome him to the CNAS Board of Directors.”

In his capacity as a new CNAS board member, Roche recently argued in Newsmax that Asia needs America's economic strength in addition to its strong military alliances and partnerships.

Roche has lived and worked in Asia for over 30 years. He is active in the American Chambers of Commerce in Japan and China, serving on the Board of Governors and as Chairman of The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. He also served as a member of the U.S. Trade Representative’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations from 2010–2014. Active in philanthropy, Roche has supported several non-profit enterprises dedicated to strengthening U.S.-Asia relations, including the U.S./China Strong Foundation, an initiative to increase the number of American students studying in China; the U.S. National Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo in 2010; and international studies programs at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan, and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

In 1993, Roche co-founded Oak Lawn Marketing, an omni-channel brand response company in Japan. In 2009, he helped negotiate the sale of a 51 percent interest of the company to Japan’s largest mobile phone operator, NTT DOCOMO. He currently serves as the company’s Chairman.

In 1997, Roche co-founded Acorn International, a leading media and branding company in China, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Roche currently serves as Chairman and CEO of the company.

In 2004, Roche moved his family from Nagoya to Shanghai and established himself as one of the most active ex-pat investors and entrepreneurs in China. He helped launch several start-up companies, including financing and co-founding URBN Hotel in Shanghai, China’s first carbon-neutral multi award-winning hotel (built using materials recycled from 1920s-era Shanghai buildings). In 2013, Roche expanded URBN and co-founded the Cachet Hotel Group, a hotel management company.

Roche has invested in and helped build KraneShares, an asset management company that provides global investment opportunities for the next wave of China’s development, and FansTang, a China-focused and branded cross-platform media and Entertainment Company with staff in Hollywood, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Chengdu. Roche co-founded IS Seafood, a company that imports Icelandic fish to China using a network of industry-leading cold chain logistics specialists and state-of-the-art processing and packaging techniques. He also manages large real estate holdings worldwide.

In 2013, Roche helped establish TAG Capital, a boutique investment bank specializing in cross-border transactions across the Asia-Pacific region.

Roche is also active in business and philanthropy in the United States. He has developed an award-winning championship golf resort and farming interests across southern Utah, mixed-use developments in Hawaii, as well as a 26,000-acre development in Gallup, New Mexico, that includes residential properties, a transit hub, and energy distribution facilities. Roche is an investor in Redhorse Performance, Inc., an automotive supplier specializing in fittings for racecars.

Robert Roche is co-founder and board member of the Business Forward Foundation and a member of the board of trustees for the Center for American Progress. Through the Roche Family Foundation and other enterprises, Roche also supports the Clinton Foundation, University of Southern California, and schools and community service organizations in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois.

Roche received a degree in Economics and Japanese Studies from Illinois State University-Normal, Illinois. He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in 1988. He was an exchange student at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan, as an undergraduate in 1983–1984 and as a law student in 1986–1987. He is admitted to practice law in Illinois.

Roche is married with three children and spends time in China, Japan, and the United States. He is fluent in Japanese and proficient in Mandarin Chinese.

To learn more, follow Robert on LinkedIn, www.robertrocheblog.com or visit Robert Roche’s page on Huffington Post.

For more information, please contact Neal Urwitz at nurwitz@cnas.org or 202-457-9409.

  • Neal Urwitz

    Director of External Relations

    Neal Urwitz is the Director of External Relations at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). At CNAS, Mr. Urwitz is responsible for the organization’s media relations, ...