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RIBA London thrown into chaos by chair’s resignation

RIBA London is in meltdown following chair Azar Djamali’s resignation last week, ahead of a vote of no confidence in her leadership of the council

The departure, which brought revelations that she was forbidden to see a report containing serious allegations towards the region’s members and staff, followed members’ calls for her resignation (AJ 15.04.10).

RIBA members called on president Ruth Reed to support Djamali (AJ 29.04.10) ahead of the vote planned for last Thursday’s council meeting.

In what is seen as a controversial move, both Reed and chief executive Harry Rich declined to intervene, leaving the region to find ‘a way through the mess’.

In her resignation speech, Djamali accused the London Region of being ‘hopelessly adrift’ and said it was ‘completely failing to meet the needs and aspirations of its members’.

She said: ‘Since I took office as chair of London Region last year, I have been obstructed in my duties by RIBA staff and attacked, privately and publicly, by certain of my fellow members.

‘This is in spite of the fact that my election was ratified at the highest level. I was deeply disturbed by what I found on taking the chair, and reported my concerns to John Devlin, membership vice president. There was clearly enough unease in high places for Ruth Reed to ask John to conduct a full investigation into the London Region.’

Djamali went on to stress that Devlin’s 80-page investigation report ‘containing all manner of terrible allegations’ must be presented to London Region members, allowing them to address the problems.

The AJ understands that following the compilation of the report, Devlin decided to take personal legal advice and has so far refused to release its contents.

Djamali concluded: ‘From what I have said in this statement, it is evident that my position as chair of London Region is hopelessly compromised. With great sadness I am now resigning the chair with immediate effect.’

A spokesperson for the RIBA said the institute could not comment because an investigation was currently underway.

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