Property consultancy Knight Frank this week announced the appointment of Candy Zhao as chief operating officer for China, based in its Shanghai office.
Zhao will lead the agency‘s mainland business services teams, including finance, HR, office administration, IT, marketing, legal and risk/compliance. She reports to Piers Brunner, chief executive for Greater China, after the company’s former China chief Alan Liu left the firm in mid-2020.
“Candy is a seasoned senior executive with experience across a range of industries including finance and operations,” Brunner said in a release. “I am sure her skills will complement the existing team’s expertise. Candy will continue to enhance the range and scope of the company’s growth and work with all departments to deliver Knight Frank’s strategic initiatives in the Chinese mainland.”
Long Experience in Finance
Prior to joining Knight Frank, Zhao worked as director of finance and operations in the property management division at CBRE China, where she was accountable for finance, HR, training/development, legal, compliance and IT in the mainland Chinese operations.
Before that, she was a senior manager at E&Y Shanghai, providing audit services to multinational corporations and domestic and overseas listed companies, as well as working on IPO projects.
Zhao holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and a finance MBA from the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance.
The latest personnel move comes as Knight Frank has been beefing up its mainland China team in recent years.
In July 2020, the company hired former CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, Colliers and JLL executive Jonathan Rideout as its new head of office services for Shanghai. That hire came after the agency in 2019 had appointed Ying Shin Lee as managing director of its Shanghai office. Lee joined Knight Frank after spending nearly a decade with GE’s global real estate team, where she helped oversee the US conglomerate’s portfolio of offices, manufacturing sites and other facilities in Asia.
Like Brunner, Lee is also a former Colliers International hand. Other Colliers alums include Ken Kan, Knight Frank’s managing director of the Shenzhen office and head of office services for South China, as well as the now-departed Liu.