Managing director of rebranded Bucknall Austin leaves as board seeks ‘different style’

Simon Birchall, the managing director of consultant Rider Levett Bucknall, has been forced out of the company after just 18 months in the job.

David Bucknall, chairman, said: “Simon is an outstanding professional as evidenced by his role in the final closes of our five-year plan. He was a great help in re-establishing our market presence.

“However, the board felt that the direction, aspirations and targets agreed with Simon at the outset were unlikely to be sustained. The board also felt that a different style of leadership was needed.”

Birchall’s shock departure comes just two months after Bucknall Austin rebranded as Rider Levett Bucknall.

Birchall, who was unavailable for comment, will be replaced by Lance Taylor with immediate effect. Taylor has been head of Rider Levett Bucknall’s project management business for three years.

Taylor has managed key accounts including Tesco, and was in charge of the mixed-use regeneration project at Wolverhampton Interchange.

He played a big role in securing the global partnership that prompted the company to rebrand as Rider Levett Bucknall in June, after Bucknall Austin merged with the Australian arm of Rider Hunt and Singapore-based Levett and Bailey.

In its last set of results before the rebranding, Bucknall Austin secured a £26m turnover. The enlarged company now employs 1,750 staff in 60 offices worldwide.

Earlier this month Rider Levett Bucknall was appointed QS for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games.