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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)

  • Only an idiot would lay the blame on Sir Fred it would be like blaming RMJM for the Scottish parliament cost over run. (When both the client and lead architect die and then client also asks you to make the building bomb proof after construction has started then the budget will go out the window)

    From all the post above I must say that you must be the most evil people alive because you make it quite clear that you knew that this finical meltdown was coming but you decided not to tell anyone. Shame on you for keeping you vast knowledge of high finance to yourself you should personally apologise to all the architect who were left jobless when the housing market collapsed.

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  • p.s I though RMJM said starcitects are just stylists. Alsop is most definitely of the starchtect mould.

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  • Wow, someone defending Fred and RMJM who says we are all idiots. Amazing!

    I hear Bernie Madof is looking for work...

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  • I’ve actually read every ones comments and my god you people really are quite simple. I am a student but even in my youthful naivety I know that one person does not sit at the top of the company pulling levers and saying lets start being really reckless with our money because we will be bailed out. The truth is that RBS were screwed by the purchase of ABN AMRO. At the time no on was aware of the problems with sub prime dept being hidden in packages of debt rated as AAA. ABN AMRO had load of this badly rated debt and that is the main cause of the crisis at the RBS. If you must blame anyone for the financial crisis blame the credit rating agencies as it there mistakes that meant risk was evaluated badly.

    Now for a more pressing concern.
    This is the website of the architects journal. Architect in theory should be clever, and clever people do not see the world as black and white (It’s a fuzzy kind of grey in reality if you were wondering).
    Saying bankers are greedy is like saying bin laden is evil. The world is more complicated than that and as clever architects you should know better.
    Really you would find a better debate on the daily mail website this I why the professions is in trouble, we the cream of the construction industry but we are becoming as dense as the other professions involved in construction. If we are not careful they will become more intelligent than we are and we will be left as just as a load of powerless morons who decide upon how we will decorate the building. And what was once architecture will slide in to a quagmire of cheap curtain walling systems and hold up shiny shiny Frank Geary as our lord and master.

    And just to end the debate and save the once glorious profession from further harm I will use Godwins law and compare sir Fred to Hitler.

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  • James

    You appear to be missing the point. Firstly, a lot of people did see the sub-prime crisis coming - Despatches on C4 about 4 years ago ran a programme about the madness of 10x self-cert BTL mortgages at 5% interest, and there were plenty of other economists who also were highlighting this as the next South Sea bubble over the years preceding 2008. So there were plenty of people calling for prudence, contrary to what you have typed. People like our Fred were happy to play along with the securitisation gravy train, because they were driven by two things - fear and greed.

    No one here is saying Goodwin is solely responsible, but what people are making the point about is his INTEGRITY when the whole thing blew up. Everyone here is concerned about the morals and integrity of the industry. It seems that hubris, excess and recklessness continues to be rewarded.

    I get the impression that is what people are annoyed about - the reason people work in architecture, for the most part, is not for financial benefit, but the hope that they can make, in some small way, a difference to the lives of people through their work - probably a bit similar to the motives for going in to nursing. It tends to rile a bit when you see someone like Goodwin who clearly has very little decency about him being brought in as an industry ambassador.

    I would guard against being so quick to criticise everyone else's opinion here, lest of all calling us all 'idiots'. You may be right, you may be wrong, but everyone else is entitled to their view here, and I happen to feel that it might be you who has been missing the point of the concerns raised here.

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  • Ralph

    Fair enough I was a little harsh and there are a valid arguments against the hiring sir Fred but still it is alarming how so many people (not just architects) are increasingly seeing the world as black and white. There are also an ever increasing number of “hang them!” type comments on the AJ and the BD on a range of issues and this my be fine on daily mail because you would expect that from there readership. But as highly qualified professionals architects have to be reasonably smart just to qualify and so reactionary hang the pariah type comments are something we should aviod.

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  • Once again, more unnecessary journalism by AJ.
    Who RMJM hire and fire is their business.

    Merlin, you use the word 'disgraced' in reference to Mr Goodwin' previous position. Could you have done a better a job?

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  • RMJM has put this out as a piece of PR, complete with pictures. So why berate the AJ for writing about it?

    Could Merlin have done a better job? You mean of messing up the entire banking system like Fred Goodwin did?

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  • Where are their ties?

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  • Ah, see, the PR shot stylist said don't wear ties with suits, it's to make them appear 'relaxed' and vaguely 'creative' types... Fred's clearly the most unbuttoned of the three.

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