Slurred RMJM chief 'in the office as usual'
RMJM’s European chief executive Jonathan French is back at his desk despite an alleged attempt to undermine his position through a leaked email
Yesterday the AJ was copied in on an email sent by RMJM’s group chief executive Peter Morrison to finance director Declan Thompson which makes several damaging allegations about French, who only joined the troubled global practice in February this year.
However French, who believes the motive for the slurs was his battle to get RMJM staff paid, was today ‘in the office as usual’ and claimed he had yet to receive any clear direction from Morrison or Thompson about his future with the company (AJ 21.05.2013).
Leaked anonymously to the AJ, the email discusses a merger of the company’s European and Middle Eastern operations and makes several unsubstantiated claims about French, including that he had refused to ‘travel economy class’, and had not taken ‘salary sacrifices’ when employees were not being paid. It also explains how a proposed shake-up would result in a restructuring of the management team, with Harry Downie taking on the new position as the chief executive of RMJM International, raising doubts about French’s role.
He told the AJ: ’’I am in the office as usual this morning. People have said they ’are glad to see me’. But I have had no direction from Peter or Declan as to where I fit [or not] in the ‘new super region’.
He added: ‘I am very saddened to find myself at the centre of this bizarre story.
‘At the same time I am extremely encouraged by the many calls and e-mails of support that I have been receiving over the last 24 hours both publicly and in private from colleagues within RMJM and from other members of the architectural profession and the wider international construction industry. Many people I have never met before have been motivated to get in touch.’
He added: ‘If this ‘leak’’ was an attempt to undermine my credibility and position within RMJM and the architectural profession , it would seem that those responsible have seriously underestimated the intelligence of people within the construction Industry.
‘In light of Peter’s comments in the ‘leaked’ e-mail I clearly have to consider my future at RMJM very carefully.’
Thompson disputed that the email had been leaked deliberately and insisted yesterday that French still had a job with RMJM. He said: ‘Nothing about this was designed to change French’s role at all. This email included a draft press release, which showed a part of a process in which we were thinking about different options.’