Legendary project director leaves Atkins to lead development of 312m London Bridge tower

Bernard Ainsworth, the project director of the Millennium Dome, has been brought in to head the development of the 312m Shard tower for Sellar Property Group.

Ainsworth is leaving Atkins, where he is currently projects director, to project manage the Shard, and the surrounding London Bridge Quarter.

Ainsworth, 61, said he had intended to retire this year from his role at Atkins but changed his mind after he received Sellar’s offer. His work for Atkins included a secondment to doomed London Underground consortium Metronet.

He will start his job on 14 April. He said: “I am very excited. I’m a project management guy, I like big projects and the Shard is a great project.”

Ainsworth, who is in Building’s Hall of Fame, made his name on the Millennium Dome before becoming chief operating officer for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, which was lauded for regenerating the east of the city.

I am very excited. I like big projects and the Shard is a great project

Bernard Ainsworth

Ainsworth’s title is project managing director with specific responsibility for the £2bn London Bridge Quarter, which includes the Shard development.

The 72-storey Shard has an estimated construction value of £350m. Building revealed last week that Mace, which is building it under a fixed-price contract, may revert to a construction management procurement route if a deal is not agreed by September.

Irvine Sellar, chairman of Sellar Property Group, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have attracted one of the construction industry’s leading builders to lead what we believe to be Britain’s most prestigious regeneration project.

“He has a superlative track record of delivering large and complicated construction projects on time and within budget.”