Island attorney to serveBy Susan Kreifels
as general counsel for
Asian Development Bank
Gerald Sumida has held a keen interest in the world beyond Hawaii's shores since he was a student at Punahou School. A new turn in his career now will have him jetting all over the Asia-Pacific, from remote Central Asian republics, to tiny South Pacific islands, to the money houses of Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Sumida, an attorney with Carlsmith Ball for 29 years, will move to Manila to become the general counsel for the Asian Development Bank on Oct. 4. He takes the new job as the region recovers from an economic crisis that threatened to bring down the world.
"The crisis took place and we know a lot of reasons why," Sumida said. "There's a lot of work to be done in reforming all kinds of things.
"We also know the Asia-Pacific will come back, and come back very strong. It will be an exciting area to be in."
In his new job, Sumida will head an office of some 26 international lawyers responsible for advising the bank on development loans and lending policies. A week after he starts, Sumida will fly to Brisbane, Australia, to help replenish a development fund of the bank there.
The bank is a multilateral development finance institution established by an international treaty in 1996. Its goals are to promote social and economic progress in countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The membership has grown to 57 governments -- 41 in the region, and 16 in North America and Europe. The headquarters are located in Manila.
Sumida specializes in corporate law as well as in the development and financing of energy projects in Hawaii. He was a former chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii and is a director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He also is active with the Pacific Basin Economic Council.
Sumida first became involved with international issues when he joined his school's Pacific and Asian Affairs Council organization.
"I always knew there were many things beyond Hawaii," Sumida said.
He previously served as chairman of PAAC's board and now serves on the Senior Advisory Committee. He received PAAC's Paul S. Bachman Award in 1977 for his contributions to international affairs in Hawaii.
Sumida attended Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, then Yale Law School, concentrating in international law.