Nigel Carrington had been due to begin in September

Only an architect should be allowed to run the RIBA as a matter of principle, according to former president Jack Pringle who said to allow otherwise would be “insane”.

His remarks come as the resignation of Sir Nigel Carrington, a lawyer and vice-chancellor of the University of the Arts London, was confirmed.

Jack Pringle 2020

Carrington was due to become the first chair of the RIBA’s newly constituted board in September but – reportedly after a testy RIBA council meeting at the beginning of this month – he quit two months before starting.

In a damage-limitation attempt, the RIBA insisted he was still a trustee, while senior figures at Portland Place tried to persuade him to reconsider, according to insiders.

But this week president Alan Jones confirmed Carrington, a former boss of the McLaren F1 group, had resigned from the board with immediate effect.

Pringle (pictured) welcomed the news, saying: “I am told he is incredibly capable and has held some fantastic posts, but he is just the wrong person for the job.

“Like the Ronseal ads, RIBA should do what it says on the tin. It’s insane to appoint anybody who is not an architect.”

Pringle, who 12 years after his stint as RIBA president is standing for council again in the current election, is demanding a change in the institute’s rules to prevent a repeat of the embarrassment.

He said. “There’s no question they should change the rules. I know from bitter experience that if it can happen it will happen. As a matter of principle, the RIBA should be chaired by an architect. If not, there is either something wrong with RIBA or RIBA members.”

RIBA president Alan Jones said: ”Sir Nigel Carrington notified trustees [last week] that he would be unable to take up the position as chair in September. As he was recruited for this role, it is with regret that we have accepted his resignation as a trustee with immediate effect. He is an impressive champion of culture and we are pleased to have benefitted, albeit briefly, from his expertise and knowledge.”

An RIBA spokesperson was unable to give a timeframe for recruiting a successor. In the meantime, honorary secretary Kerr Robertson is interim chair. Robertson also stood in for Jones during his recent absence during an investigation into whether he misused RIBA funds while having an affair.