Industry manoeuvres gather pace this week as young men stride into the spotlight, old hands consider new work, architects fly to Tokyo to find mates and the BPF falls for Al Gore
A name to remember
As long as Sir Robert McAlpine goes ahead with the Olympic stadium project, the chances are that a certain Hector McAlpine will find a spot of work on the scheme. Hector is the son of company chairman David, and he is said to be leading a pack of twentysomethings racing to take over the reins from the existing family management. Young Hector gained hands-on experience during the successful completion of Arsenal’s Emirates stadium and, so I’m told, is the one to watch.
Blood on the tracks
It’s all change at Network Rail. Chief executive John Armitt announced over Christmas that he is to step down, while it was revealed that the rail operator’s framework of contractors is to be cut from six firms to four. You could have been forgiven for thinking that Carillion, one of the six, would be slightly worried about this, especially as it has been suspended from tendering for renewal work after a series of safety failings. However, I hear that, under its new management team, the rail division could, ahem, be back on track by the summer.
Analysts find shelter
Analyst Numis Securities has shut its Liverpool office, home to its property and building team. Rumours had been rife that Mark Hughes and Rachel Waring, the firm’s construction team, would set out on their own, as both had declined an offer to relocate to London. But it now transpires that rival Panmure Gordon has found it in its heart to welcome them into its Liverpool fold.
Geoff Wright sits tight
Former Hammerson director Geoff Wright has apparently turned down a lucrative offer to oversee a construction project in the Middle East. The commitment would have meant spending at least two weeks a month in Dubai – an arrangement that Wright was less than keen on. Instead the chirpy developer has lined up four non-executive directorships, including one at steel subcontractor Severfield-Rowen. That’s the way to spend your retirement, Geoff ...
Mike Jeffries, architect
Rumour has it that Mike Jeffries, Wembley National Stadium’s long-suffering boss, may be lining up a new job for the blessed day that the stadium is completed and his services are no longer required. The word is that Jeffries is eyeing a return to his roots as an architect and is in line for a consultancy role at a signature practice.
A little less conversation
A new craze sweeping the nation could finally put an end to architects banging on and on about their latest ideas. Pecha Kucha, founded by Klein Dytham Architects in Tokyo, is an event where 16 speakers are each asked to take the stage, show 20 images and talk for 20 seconds about each one. Word reaches me that the speed-dating style of these events is leading to more than the occasional brief encounter across the architectural community. Maybe that’s why the next one is on 14 February.
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