Julie Hamp resurfaces at Finsbury

The former PepsiCo and Toyota chief communications officer was never charged after being arrested in Japan in 2015 for allegedly importing painkillers without permission.

Julie Hamp (image via Finsbury's website)
Julie Hamp (image via Finsbury's website)

NEW YORK: Julie Hamp, the former Toyota comms chief who was arrested in Japan nearly two years ago for allegedly importing painkillers without permission, has reemerged at Finsbury.

Hamp is part of a small group of senior advisers who periodically provide counsel to the firm, Finsbury partner Ed Adler confirmed via email. It is a part-time role.

"[Hamp] has driven strategic corporate reputation efforts for several of the world’s leading companies," said Adler. "She also has built and managed global teams—a skillset that is increasingly important as we have become a more global firm. We are very happy she is part of the Finsbury family."

The agency recently set up a bio for Hamp on its website, noting she is active in New York. It explained that Hamp’s focus is on corporate reputation management, media relations, brand building and consumer engagement, issues management, crisis communications, and other areas. Hamp has consulted for Finsbury since last April, according to her LinkedIn account, which also lists her as president of JAJH Consulting Services since January 2016.

Hamp was not immediately available for comment.

In June 2015, Hamp was arrested in Japan after customs agents found 57 tablets containing oxycodone in a package she allegedly sent to herself from the U.S., according to multiple media reports. Oxycodone is tightly regulated in Japan. Hamp reportedly told authorities that she needed the painkiller to ease problems with her knees and that she did not intend to break Japanese law.

She was held in a jail in Tokyo’s Harajuku district for 20 days and released the following month without being charged. Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy reportedly worked to secure Hamp’s release.

Toyota Motor, which initially defended Hamp after the arrest, said in a statement at the time that it "accepted her resignation after considering the concerns and inconvenience that recent events have caused our stakeholders."

Hamp had relocated to Japan only a few months earlier after Toyota Motor promoted her from chief communications officer for North America to the global role of managing officer and chief communications officer. She was the first female executive to reach the managing officer level at Toyota. Hamp took over communications at Toyota North America in June 2012.

Previously, Hamp served as PepsiCo’s chief communications officer and SVP of consumer relations for more than four years, ending in March 2012. She also worked at General Motors for 25 years, holding senior communications roles such as VP of communications for Europe and general director of communications for Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.

This story was updated on May 25 to correct Hamp's location. She is active in New York but not based there.

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