Italian-born architect Paola Boffo has become the new chair of the troubled RIBA London Region
An associate at Ellis Williams Architects, she comes into replace Azar Djamali who stood down ahead of a contentious vote of no confidence in her leadership in April following members’ calls for her resignation.
The region has been dogged by allegations about the behaviour of its members and staff and was also reported to the Charity Commission over concerns ‘relating to its governance’ and other irregularities.
Former RIBA president Owen Luder, who remains concerned about problems with the region and is demanding a full independent investigation into the issues, said:’The election of Paola who was a strong supporter of Azar is a good sign.
‘[However] If the members who were responsible for the original problems, which go back seven years are still involved, there is still the potential for more problems.
‘[The arrival] of Paola does not remove the need for a full open enquiry into the problems with London Region, if for no other reason than they exposed problems with the RIBA that are wider than just [that region].’
Boffo beat Tim Jeffery and Chris Hampson, who in September 2009 both signed a petition asking Djamali (see below), and Despina Flevotomou.
She studied in Florence, leaving 15 years ago to work in London. She then spent eight years in Dorset before returnnig to London in 2004.
Speaking about Boffo’s victory, former chair Azar Djamali said: ‘I am delighted that Paola Boffo has been elected as the RIBA LR Chair. In my role as the immediate past chair I will fully support her.
I have no doubt that in moving forward and preparing the region for the 2012 with the support of the LR Council Members we will develop a dedicated working council delivering outstanding services in promoting architecture and the architects in London.’
Chris Hampson said: ‘I am very pleased that we have Paola Boffi as the new chair and that we can put the issues at the RIBA London Region in the last 6-8 months behind us. There is now a platfom to move forward and concentrate on promoting architecture.’
Previous story (AJ 05.07.10)
Hopefuls bid for RIBA London chair
Two council members who petitioned to remove the former RIBA London chair are now standing for election to the role
In April, former RIBA London chair Azar Djamali stood down ahead of a contentious vote of no confidence in her leadership following members’ calls for her resignation. Some members called on Ruth Reed, RIBA president, to intervene.
Tim Jeffery and Chris Hampson, who in September 2009 signed a petition asking Djamali to resign (see the full letter below), have nominated themselves for election to chair.
The petitioners are joined by Despina Flevotomou and Paula Boffo, chair of the North West London Society of Architects, both also standing for the role.
The polls close at midday on 21 July. The winner announcement is expected to coincide with the appointment of the RIBA president elect.
Letter from Karen Rogers to Azar Djamali, September 2009
Further to the last London Region Council you are aware that a number of members of council were very disappointed in the way the meeting was handled and some have expressed this to you directly. Despite repeated calls for a group meeting and reassurance on the issues you only agreed to call a meeting last week, for this reason a number of us feel that you are not willing to address the issues raised which are fundamental to your ability to fulfill the role of chairperson. For clarity the role of chairperson differs entirely from that of a president - descriptions can be found on several web sites. We also attach a definition below.
Furthermore you have allowed a personal conflict to get in the way of this position and have conducted meetings in a manner contradictory to the role.
We, the undersigned, have been in discussion as members of the London Region Council regarding your understanding of your role as chair of the council and your ability to carry this out. It is with deep regret that we now write to ask you to stand down as Chair of the London Region Council with immediate effect. If you are not able to do this we will immediately move to call a “vote of no confidence” from the wider group of London Region.
We will consult with the RIBA on a temporary chair but we, as a group propose that this could be carried out by Andrew Hanson, as past Chair, to act strictly in a temporary role until we are able to call another election.
List of signatures