The nominee for science minister pulled out on Monday apparently frustrated by a prolonged impasse in the National Assembly over his appointment. The new ministry would be charged with stimulating the economy by pushing a convergence of tech-based industries.
"I lost the desire to sacrifice myself for my country when I saw the opposition party's refusal to meet with the president and the chaos in the political arena," Kim Jeong-hoon told reporters.
President Park Geun-hye failed to change Kim's mind on Sunday, when he told her he wanted to throw in the towel, according to a senior Cheong Wa Dae official.
The Korean-American entrepreneur and former head of Bell Labs has become a symbol of Park's key campaign pledge to create more jobs and power the country's growth by promoting the IT and communications industries. He had already come under heavy fire for his links to the CIA.
Park told reporters that Kim's decision is "regrettable."
Kim is scheduled to leave for the U.S. on Tuesday.