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New RMJM chief: 'I can't turn things around on my own'

RMJM’s new chief executive for Europe has played down his arrival at the troubled company saying that ‘no one person’ could turnaround the practice’s fortunes

The former David Chipperfield Architects managing director has been brought in with the ‘broad remit to get the company’s European operations back on track’ and joined up with the AJ100 giant’s ‘global network’.

Speaking about the task ahead of him, French said: ‘No one person can achieve what needs to be achieved by themselves.

‘We are now creating a great leadership team utilising my experience and network – but we are only too aware that this can only be achieved by looking after our people, controlling expenditure and reigniting relationships.’

French, who is a trained architect, has arrived at the 56-year-old practice just weeks after a fresh round of redundancies and as a class legal action for unpaid wages and pensions in the US intensified (AJ 14.02.2013)

Last October the company placed its three UK business into receivership (RMJM, RMJM London and RMJM Scotland) leaving creditors £6.5 million out of pocket.

We are working on restoring the simple things first

Explaining he plan to tackle the practice’s ‘transformation’, French added: ‘We are working on restoring the simple things first and appreciate that we are fortunate to have an  incredible back catalogue in our portfolio and heritage, this and the loyalty of the architects is what attracted me to RMJM.’

He concluded: ‘I’ve joined RMJM with the ambition to create a forward looking environment having an aspiration to create the best architecture we possibly can is critical to our future.’

Comment from RMJM’s board:

‘The teams have all endured some significant challenges in the lifecycle of the organisation since the downturn, but feel we are now beginning to turn a corner and the arrival of Jonathan is the carefully considered beginning. Jonathan’s arrival has rejuvenated the teams’ optimism and he is focusing our vision for the future.

‘As an experienced architect and business leader we are already witnessing the first seeds of transformation taking shape in both the board room and on the design floor.’    

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