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Rogers backs Owen in RIBA race as candidates call in the big guns

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Richard Rogers has thrown his weight behind Valerie Owen's bid to become the next president of the RIBA.

The move represents a major boost to Owen's campaign in the last week of official lobbying after she was facing increasing criticism for her business-orientated approach.

Rogers wrote in a statement that Owen - who works as the managing director of inward investment agency London First - would be an enormous benefit to the institute.

'I warmly welcome Valerie Owen's candidacy, ' Rogers said.

'She is business-like and talented, with excellent political skills.

Valerie will make a dynamic leader for the profession.'

The candidate believes Rogers' support will indicate to the profession at large that she has the support of big name practitioners.

Owen - who is also a fully qualified planner and surveyor - rose to prominence in the '90s as the first female and youngest ever director of global property giants Jones Lang LaSalle.

She has also won the backing of David Marks and Julia Barfield, the founders and architects behind the London Eye, and CABE commissioner Dickon Robinson.

'Owen is well-placed to broaden the appeal of the institute to architects working in related fields, and would take a proactive role in tackling the government's skills agenda to deliver regeneration, ' Robinson said. 'I welcome her candidacy for RIBA president.'

However, the other candidates - Jack Pringle, Simon Foxell, Ian Salisbury, Richard Saxon and Brian Godfrey - are also lining up high-profile supporters from the architectural world.

Pringle, for example, has recruited the support of Will Alsop, Ian Ritchie, Ken Shuttleworth, Chris Wilkinson and the Bartlett's departing head of school, Peter Cook.

Voting papers are to be posted out to members within the next week, with a result expected towards the end of June.

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