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HONG KONG—In what Cushman & Wakefield CEO Bruce Mosler calls “a major move” simultaneously benefiting diversification into real estate financial services and expansion of C&W’s Pacific Rim platform, Frank Lavin, US under secretary of commerce, has been hired as managing director and COO of the firm’s Asian operations. The Canton, OH, native will be based in Hong Kong and Washington, DC.

“Our clients will benefit greatly from Frank Lavin’s deep knowledge of global trade and the business landscape in Asia,” Mosler says. Besides a recent four-year stint as US ambassador to the Republic of Singapore, where he helped craft a free trade agreement, Lavin held a Commerce Department post in the George H.W. Bush administration, one where he was responsible for policy, trade negotiations and helping US countries gain access to Asia. That was followed by five years as a senior manager for Bank of America and Citibank in Hong Kong and Singapore until the ambassadorship began in 2001.

In his position at Cushman & Wakefield Investors Asia, Lavin will be responsible for boosting the investment management business in that region by executing the rollout of various funds and their management, plus in handling investor relations. Helen Wong, CEO of the Asian division, says Lavin is “a key addition” expected to be “instrumental in the continued growth, development and management” of C&W’s business.

Offering that cross-border capital constitutes more than 30% of all global property sales, Wong predicted that Lavin’s “experience and exceptional knowledge of China and India will be a powerful tool for clients seeking opportunities there.”

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