Knight Frank, today announced a new structure for its China operations, creating the role of China Managing Director, with industry veteran Alan Liu being appointed to fill the new top slot on the mainland.
Liu, who formerly led North Asia operations for competing property agency Colliers International, will step into his new role on May 9th, according to a statement from the company.
“We see China as a terrific opportunity for the firm,” Knight Frank’s APAC regional head Kevin Coppel said of the decision to add more management on the mainland. “We are committed to strengthening our leadership, investing in talent and growing our presence in China.”
In his new role, Liu, who will be based in Shanghai, will be responsible for Knight Frank’s offices in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing, in addition to overseeing the company’s valuations business nationwide. The new structure replaces Knight Frank’s former system of having local managing directors in each city reporting to a regional head in Hong Kong.
The new structure will also see Liu taking responsibility for company projects and leadership in many of China’s second-tier markets which were formerly handled by managers in the Shanghai office or by Hong Kong-based staff, according to company insiders who spoke with Mingtiandi.
“We are in the process of driving forward some significant developments including growth of our business in China,” Piers Brunner, chief executive officer for Greater China at Knight Frank said in a statement. Brunner, who joined Knight Frank in October last year and now will be Liu’s new boss, added that, “I look forward to working closely with Alan to fully capitalise on the Knight Frank platform and contribute to the success of our clients in the region.”
Liu and Brunner have a long history together, having been co-workers for more than a decade at Colliers, where Brunner formerly served as chief executive officer for the Canadian-based firm.
Also today, Knight Frank announced internally the departure of its Shanghai managing director Graham Zink, who is leaving the company after more than five years running its operations in the city.
Mingtiandi spoke directly with the departing Shanghai boss, who is now pursuing opportunities at the regional level after more than eight years in China. Zink, who also served with JLL in the city prior to joining Knight Frank, is still working in the Shanghai office to assist with the handover process, and will likely continue to be based in the city through the summer.