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RIBA names Alan Vallance as new chief executive

Alan vallance crop
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Institute’s new boss Alan Vallance to earn £30k-£50k more per year than predecessor Harry Rich

Vallance, who is on a salary of £180,000-£200,000 a year, joined the RIBA in September 2015 as interim director of finance and operations and has been acting chief executive in the wake of Rich’s shock departure in January (see AJ 22.01.16).

Appointed following a ‘competitive recruitment process’, Vallance is understood to be well regarded in the institute with current RIBA councillor John Assael describing him as ’wise, experienced and a safe pair of hands’.

Former RIBA president Stephen Hodder was also keen to welcome Vallance, who had worked for three years as the chief operating officer at the Law Society of England and Wales before joining the institute.

Hodder told the AJ: ’I’m very pleased to hear of his appointment. I met with Alan in advance of the recruitment process during which he outlined his approach to delivering the RIBA’s five year strategy. I liked what I heard and I’m sure he will bring stability and a sense of continuity to the Institute.

’He now needs to consolidate the group executive make up, and amongst other priorities, reinforce membership engagement via the regional offices’.

RIBA councillor, Elsie Owusu, added: ’Alan has the capacity support RIBA’s transition from “19th century gentleman’s club” to the nimble and creative 21st century profession which architects and our clients truly deserve.’

Speaking about his appointment  Vallance said: ’Architects are creative, visionary and collaborative professionals who ensure that our built environment serves and strengthens communities now and in the future. It is a privilege to have been appointed to the role of chief executive of the RIBA.

‘I look forward to working with the board and council, the staff team and members in the UK and globally to deliver the RIBA’s five year strategic plan and to further strengthen the RIBA’s offer to current and future members.’

Former chief executive Harry Rich left after a turbulent six years in the insitute’s top role. In 2011, then president Ruth Reed failed in a bid to oust him from his position.

This was followed two years later by a motion backed by former procurement reform group chair Walter Menteth demanding further scrutiny of the £152,000-a-year employee (AJ 12.12.13).

According to sources, Rich’s eventual departure along with the exits of chief operating officer Andy Munro, communications director Gill Webber and long-serving director Richard Brindley left a void in the leadership and a ‘strategic vacuum’ at the RIBA.


Jane Duncan, RIBA President
’I am delighted that Alan Vallance has been appointed as chief executive of the RIBA. We had a large and strong field of applicants and the interview panel were unanimous in concluding that Alan is the right person to lead the RIBA as we deliver our five year strategy. As interim chief executive since February this year, Alan has demonstrated his energy, drive and commitment to strengthening the RIBA’s voice and impact as a global professional membership body driving excellence in architecture.’

Elsie Owusu, RIBA councillor
’I’ve been working with Alan for the last few months at RIBA and I’ve been impressed with his financial acumen, combined with enthusiasm for diversity and the best of UK talent in architecture and design.
’With this real commitment to equality inclusion and excellence, I believe Alan has the capacity support RIBA’s transition from “19th century gentleman’s club” to the nimble and creative 21st century profession which architects and our clients truly deserve.’

John Assael, RIBA councillor
’Wise, experienced and a safe pair of hands. Vallance found all sorts of problems within months of being appointed a director of finance He is forensic and honest and doesn’t play politics either. Delighted that he has been put forward and he will have my full support.’

Owen Luder, past RIBA president
’This is excellent news. The dealings I have had with Alan since he took over temporarily a year ago…. I didn’t think we needed to look further than him permanently. The recruitment process has confirmed that.’ 

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