Newmark Knight Frank has poached Merrill Roth, one of the top earning brokers at rival US property services firm Grubb & Ellis, to act as its vice chairman and principal.

Roth, who was vice-chairman at Grubb & Ellis, will handle tenant representation for corporate occupiers, strategic planning, deal restructuring and investment services. Roth has 29 years experience in New York and other US property markets.

Knight Frank ended its five-year global alliance with Grubb & Ellis in favour of its partnership with Newmark in September 2005. Annually, Knight Frank and Newmark handle a combined total of $41bn (£23bn) in transactions, with revenues of $545m (£300m), and have more than 240 offices in more than 30 countries.

The appointment, which will be effective from the 1 January 2007, follows news of Newmark Knight Frank’s entry into the Detroit market in a partnership with Detroit property company Friedman Real Estate Group. The new office in the USA’s eight largest city will operate as Newmark Knight Frank and will be run by Newmark Knight Frank executive managing director Steve Morris.

Friedman chief executive officer David Friedman said: ‘We’re always looking for new ways to serve our clients’ needs, and our partnership with Newmark Knight Frank will allow us to provide them with sophisticated new services on a global scale.’