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Carey Jones cuts staff, RMJM shuts office

Carey Jones has shed almost half its board of directors, including a number of architects once hailed as the company’s ‘succession plan’

Managing director Gregg Mitchell (pictured) has left the firm, as has David Matthews of the interiors arm, London-based David Roden, Leeds’ Mike Harris and Manchester director Simon Clarke.

As part of the restructuring, the company, which has offices in Leeds, London and Manchester, will reduce its board from 11 to six.

It is understood Mitchell is setting up on his own and that other leavers will continue to work with Carey Jones on several existing projects ‘in a sub-consultancy capacity’.

Carey Jones co-founder Gordon Carey said: ‘Like so many other architectural practices in this recession, we had become too top-heavy. Our plans hadn’t changed, but the economy had, and we had to take steps to deal with that

‘The result of the restructuring will mean that Chris [Jones] and I will become more hands on once again, working alongside our co directors- to deal with the changing market.’

Of the 50 schemes on Carey Jones’ books – including two recently approved projects at Wellington Place in Leeds (pictured) for developer MEPC – only two will move with the directors.

One of two recently consented office schemes within the Wellington Place masterplan in Leeds, designed by Carey Jones

One of two recently consented office schemes within the Wellington Place masterplan in Leeds, designed by Carey Jones

Carey feels the profession will see more practice shake-ups as the economic turmoil continues.

He said: ‘I believe there will be further restructuring of architectural practices during the next two years.

‘I’ve been through a couple of recessions before and found last time that it’s when firms are coming out of recession that you see the most change. We’ve pre-empted that by taking early action in restructuring.’

Elsewhere RMJM, ranked 12th in this year’s AJ100 list of Britain’s biggest practices (AJ 20.05.10), is to shut its 35-strong Cambridge office and move most of its staff to London.

A spokesman for RMJM said: ‘There are a number of operational and financial benefits in concentrating our resources in [the capital]… and we have begun to explore how we can effectively transfer our ongoing project commitments from Cambridge to London, in conjunction with an intention to relocate staff.’

The news comes just weeks after last month’s revelation that four of RMJM’s leading lights, including the chief executive of its Asia and Middle East operations, had left the company.

The RIBA’s monthly Future Trends Survey continues to paint a bleak picture. For the sixth consecutive month, practices have predicted falling workloads, and the number of firms expecting more work has dropped by eight per cent since June.

Adrian Dobson, RIBA director of practice, said: ‘Medium-sized practices continue to be the most pessimistic about their future workload prospects.’

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