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RMJM hires 'Fred the Shred'

Architecture giant RMJM has hired disgraced former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Fred Goodwin to work as senior advisor on international business

The 51-year-old Scot joined RMJM in December last year on an unknown salary with performance-related bonuses - just 13 months after being ousted from the chief executive role at RBS.

The Edinburgh-based practice, founded in 1956 and ranked 14th in the AJ100 survey of top UK practices, hired Goodwin because of his international experience.

A spokesperson for RMJM said: ‘We have appointed Sir Fred as an adviser to the business. Working closely with our executive team, Fred will be advising on our ongoing international strategy. He has a huge amount of international business experience. This is a rare [skill] set and one which is valuable and relevant to RMJM’.

Goodwin grew RBS to sit as one of the five largest global banks during his nine boom years as chief executive before it was bought-out by the taxpayer in the heat of the credit crunch.

Goodwin provoked outrage in December last year when on the same day it was announced RBS had made a record loss of £24.1 billion for 2008 it was revealed he would receive an annual pension of £650,000 for life.

The RMJM move renews Goodwin’s working relationship with Fraser Morrison, chief executive of RMJM’s North American operation. The pair worked together at Clydesdale Bank in the nineties - and Morrison helped arrange refuge for the disgraced banker in a mansion on the French Riviera when his British home was attacked at the height of the credit crunch. Fraser Morrison’s son Peter (pictured above with Goodwin and RMJM Director Paul Rodgers) is chief executive of RMJM.

RMJM is no stranger to controversy. Together with Catalonian architect Enric Miralles’ the firm designed the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh, a project that ran 10 times over budget, was completed three years late and became the subject of a major public enquiry. More recently, it has drawn fire from UNESCO over its design for a 400 metre tower for Gazprom in St. Petersburg.

Goodwin is RMJM’s second high profile appointment in recent months. In October AJ revealed that RMJM had hired Will Alsop, despite the architect’s claim to have retired to concentrate on painting.

Readers' comments (32)

  • Well more fool them after the fiasco at his previous company!

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  • What an own goal! Surely the Gazprom/Okhta Tower debacle is enough bad publicity for RMJM, but now this?

    It isn't only UNESCO gunning for RMJM, many in St Petersburg are protesting also.

    It will all end in tears.

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  • Fred must have been getting ichy feet just hiding out in Cannes. His salary has been reported in the wider media as £100K a year, no pension (probably because he's already got a decent one from RBS - and its not £650k a year you've put - he is getting £340k a year in pension after agreeing a reduction and taking some £2m odd as a lump sum).

    You'd certainly entitled not to be filled with faith at the trustworthiness of RAMJAM as a client wouldn't you? - First hiring Alsop after he told the architectural community that he was retiring to concentrate on his painting - then gloating that it was a ruse to get out of SMC Alsop- and now this.

    Now, no one is blaming Fred single-handedly for the subprime crisis, but clearly his greed and hubris played a part, and above all, his values and integrity came into stark question given his initial intransigence on the pension issue.

    Ultimately, the companies you work with need to inspire trust; consequently one might expect the clients to vote with their commissions on this one. Shame RMJM isn't listed on the stock markets - I'd be shorting the stock on the back of this development.

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  • Good article in the Times suggesting a boycott of Rumjum

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  • you should have a caption competition:

    "....and Fred, this is how high your bonus will be"

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  • RBS=RMJM

    FFS

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  • Very brave! RMJM not particularly bothered about any public contracts, going from Goodwins colleagues 1 week tenure at Odgers after government pulled their contracts upon his hiring!

    Still, I'm sure many in the industry can sympathise with the pariah's situation, being unemployed for a full year and then accepting a significantly lower salary - though admitedly he's only having to bare about twice an average senior architects salary!

    But hey, in a round about way he is an architect, RMJM the architects of buildings, Goodwin the architect of a business strategy that's directly left thousands unemployed, indirectly countless thousands and cost the taxpayer jobs and several billion - while scampering off with a nice little nest egg of £650,000 a year for life!

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  • I kept reading the phrase "unsuitable or offensive" and realised that it fits the subject of this story perfectly (? ?)

    Even more ironically, some years ago I was working as designer on a refurbishment project and had the misfortune of having to snag Mr Goodwin's private office during lunchtime when it was quiet.

    Having knocked gently on the door, I entered and asked if it would be possible to take two minutes to complete my snagging list. His answer; "no, go away!"

    There had to be another more pleasant response?

    I trust that Rumjum won't be asking him to snag anything!

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  • 'And these, Fred, are the Twin Towers...'

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  • 'Jobs for the boys'! It certainly backs up that saying 'it's not what you know, it's who you know'...

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  • "No, they call this a model Fred, apparently a plan has lots of squiggly lines on it"

    " ......and we gave staff a choice Fred, accept a pay cut or jump from here"

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  • Two hundred and ten thou a year plus expenses apparently.

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  • Unbelievable....

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  • Dominic Monaghan (centre of the photo - the guy from Lost) probably knows more about Architecture that Fred the Money Grabbing **** Shred does.

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  • Be this appointment as it may, I remain astonished that Goodwin still hasn't been stripped of his knighthood.

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  • when will this outfit actually deliver a building of any note?

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  • This is offensive. RMJM should be ashamed of themselves. Boycott these integrity-challenged twits!

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  • Architecture at that level of money, fees and expenses becomes a secondary issue.
    It's all about business and big money, who's who and how.
    Rather sad.
    At least it gives us more reasons and pride to carry on our projects!

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  • .....and the

    2010 Gerald Ratner Award
    for
    Outstanding Business Accomplishment

    goes to......

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  • RUMJUM have become the equivalent of the nouvelle riche crass soccer clubs who think they can 'buy' success...true quality exists through the rigour of delivering a wonderful product...the kid Morrison appears to think that somehow you can buy a brand (look at Mr Alsop's 'signing').

    RUMJUM used to have a brand and an ambition...a modernist (socialist!!!!) progressive direction - New Zealand house in Haymarket being a fine example. This has been lost, which is a real shame and loss to the profession.

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