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LAS VEGAS-Craig Shute, the managing director of CB Richard Ellis’ Las Vegas office for the past two years, will take on a market with an ever faster growth rate, China. Shute has accepted the position as managing director of CBRE’s Hong Kong office, which serves as the company’s Asia market headquarters. He will leave Las Vegas in early August.

A member of CBRE’s executive board, Shute is credited with improving operations in Las Vegas, where he had responsibility over P&L, new business development and recruitment for brokerage, investment, property management, asset services, project management, capital markets and valuation. The group completed 340 transactions valued at $3.5 billion in 2007, a 40% increase from 2005.

Local industry sources tell GlobeSt.com he’s leaving for the opportunity have more responsibility and be part of the explosive growth in China, where CBRE has 15 offices. While transactional data for the Hong Kong office alone was not available, CBRE’s Asia-Pacific region’s 2007 activity totaled $20.3 billion in 2007, and the Hong Kong office is its largest office, with approximately 600 staff, four times the size of the Las Vegas office.

“Hong Kong is a major international business center,” says one industry source who requested anonymity. “It’s definitely a big step for Shute.”

A native of Australia, Shute joined CBRE in 1998 and quickly became managing director of the South Australia office. He went on to become managing director of the San Diego office in 2005 before replacing Mark Bouchard as managing director of Las Vegas in August 2006. Including a stint in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Shute has 13 years of overseas experience.

“It’s a great oppotunity for me to grow both existing and new client relationships,” Shute tells GlobeSt.com. “There are a lot of international clients looking to go from China and Hong Kong to the US and US clients looking to go the other way.”

With regard to the language barrier, Shute says it shouldn’t be a problem. Beign a former British Colony, he says a lot of business is done in English, especially at the corporate level, which is where CBRE’s focus lies.

With regard to his replacement in Las Vegas, Shute says an extensive search is being undertaken — both inside and outside the company and both within and beyond Las Vegas. Shute hopes to be able to announce his successor by Aug. 10, which is when he is scheduled to leave for Hong Kong.

There has been movement among Las Vegas managing directors as of late. Prior to Shute’s announcement, one of the co-founders of NAI Horizon’s local office left the company in April to start his own firm. Phoenix-based NAI Horizon then shut down operations in Las Vegas but NAI corporate quickly opened up its own office and lured Colliers then senior managing director, Victor Donovan, to run the shop. Colliers then backfilled Donovan with Michael Mixer, the local managing partner, broker of record and co-founder of the office.

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