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Who follows Farrell? Looking at how you plan for succession

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Russ Hamilton, design partner at Farrells, on how his practice is tackling the issue of succession

Since joining Farrells 15 years ago, I have seen the company evolve, shrink and grow again. This year is particularly significant, as we are celebrating 50 years since Terry Farrell set up in practice and 25 years since the Hong Kong office was established.

The practice is going through a transitional phase and we have spent the past few years thinking through Terry’s succession. Last year the business changed from a limited company to a limited liability partnership, moving towards a more collective ownership where everybody shares in success.

The new structure provides a more flexible system and allows members to be more involved in the running of the business. Myself and four other new partners all started at about the same time, and each of us brings a different area of expertise – from large scale masterplanning to detailed urban design, and from building design to project delivery and working drawings.

While we have always worked across this continuum, we have not always been recognised for it. The 12 partners have a combined total of 260 years’ experience working at Farrells.

We are moving towards a more collective ownership where everybody shares in success

Since the announcement of the LLP, we have seen a real, positive change in the perception of and response to our architectural work, led by myself and Peter Barbalov as the two design partners. This comes at a time when many of our projects, such as  The Eagle on City Road and Chelsea Waterfront in Lots Road, both in London, are under construction. Our work on high-end retrofits like the recently completed headquarters for a financial services company in Mayfair in London and also smaller building designs, such as Volvo House in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, is also increasing.

As a design partner, I am particularly aware of this change, and am seeing an increase in both new and repeat clients in these parts of the business.

It is an exciting opportunity, as a new partner, to be able to contribute to the shaping of the future of the company, taking forward what Terry has built over the past 50 years, which has provided us with very solid foundations.

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