NEW YORK CITY-Reacting to an uncertain economic climate in South America, Cushman & Wakefield is revamping its strategy there and has appointed a new CEO of C&W Semco, Celina Antunes, to oversee an expansion initiative. The move will consolidate C&W operations on the continent into a unified group based in Sao Paulo.

“We’ve operated in Brazil for six years,” John B. Coppedge III, EVP of international operations for C&W tells “We felt now was the time to expand, even though Brazil is going through a recession and has elected a new president that takes charge the first of the year, which raises more questions about the economy.”

Coppedge explains that this uncertainty is creating an incremental need for real estate services. “Our clients are looking at consolidation and retraction across South America and need help coming up with a real estate strategy. We’re helping them create and implement that strategy.”

He adds that C&W currently manages $15 million sf of space in South America for banks and financial institutions. “We want to continue to expand, particularly in the facility management arena.”

To facilitate this expansion and to make it easier for clients to contact Cushman through a single point of contact, the firm has restructured its Semco division, appointing Antunes to oversee all operations on the continent, including property management, office and industrial brokerage, financial services, corporate services, valuation advisory services and research. Previously, the firm’s regional offices in South America worked independently of each other.

Antunes’ appointment marks the first time a woman has climbed to the ranks of C-Suite executives within C&W. Prior to being named CEO, she was asset management director for South America and was previously the director of the firm’s Brazilian property and project management operations. She’s been with the firm for seven years.

In addition to her appointment, C&W Semco has promoted several other executives. Paul Weeks was appointed managing director for Brazil; Domingo Sperenza was promoted to managing director of business development for South America; and Jose Alignani was named corporate advisor.

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