Mr. Lim was born in Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do, in the Republic of Korea. He majored in nautical science at the Korea Maritime and Ocean University (KMOU), Busan, graduating in 1977. He worked on ships as a Korean naval officer and for an international shipping company.
In 2006, Mr. Lim was appointed Director General of the Maritime Safety Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs (MLTM) and then as a Senior Maritime Attaché at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in London and led all IMO work for the Republic of Korea, serving as an Alternate Permanent Representative to IMO up to August 2009. Following that, he was re-appointed Director General for Maritime Safety Bureau (MLTM).
In March 2011, Mr. Lim was appointed Commissioner of the Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal (KMST). In July 2012, he assumed the position of President of Busan Port Authority, until January 2016 when he took up his appointment as Secretary-General of IMO.