Developer's new chief pledges to use more architects, to listen to suppliers and push green agenda
David Camp, the new chief executive of Stanhope, has signalled that the developer will begin to use a wider variety of architects.
Camp is expected to finalise his takeover of the £24m-turnover developer from its founder, Sir Stuart Lipton, within the next few weeks. As part of a complicated deal, Camp will own about 90% of the developer with technical director Peter Rogers retaining a 3% share. Rogers is expected to stay for at least another three years.
Camp said Stanhope would begin to use a greater number of younger and diverse architects than Stanhope had used. He said: "To be fair to Stuart [Lipton], since the 1980s Stanhope has helped to develop a lot of architects who've gone on to be big names, such as John McAslan and Allies and Morrison." He said people should refer to the Stockley Park development for evidence of this.
However Camp added that over the past few years Lipton had become a little "too comfortable" in using the same signature architects for Stanhope projects. He said: "He increasingly became comfortable with Foster and Rogers and their scale of offerings." Camp added: "We will be looking to use a wider variety of practices and looking for the most innovative ideas in line with the way Stanhope operates."
Camp said that it was time to take stock and listen to its supply chain, clients and the industry's current thinking. He said: "We have always been innovative but we perhaps have not been the best at communicating with our external partners. We need to work on how we communicate with the construction industry and how our consultation with the industry will work in the future in order for us to generate more ideas."
Camp said Stanhope would become less hierarchical under his tenure and that the fundamental principles from which it had been built would not change. He said: "This is evolution not revolution:
We need to work on how we communicate with the industry
David Camp, Stanhope
I want the firm to be more open and I want individuals within the company to become more empowered and be seen to be the experts in their own areas."
Camp pointed to sustainability as one of the main challenges for the business and said Stanhope was undertaking research on what big corporate blue-chip companies would want in the future in terms of environment-friendly buildings.
He said: "It's our culture to be innovative and I want that to remain the case - we need to continually to think to the future on these issues."
Fellow director Ron German added that the trend for clients to demand a greater levels of maximum guaranteed prices was continuing and, as a result, was being filtered down to trade contractors as part of Stanhope's system of construction management.
David Camp and the Stanhope takeover
David Camp, 48, describes himself a “team player”, and his staff describe him as somebody who is “more approachable” than their former boss Sir Stuart Lipton.
Having spent the past 19 years at Stanhope and nine years at law firm Donaldsons, Camp has said he is just weeks away from completing the final paperwork of a £14m deal to acquire Stanhope from Lipton. Under the deal, Camp will retain a shareholding of more than 90% with Peter Rogers remaining in the firm for at least another three years, but with his shareholding reducing from 25% to 3%. Meanwhile
Camp is currently discussing a sell-off of a quarter of his newly acquired stake to an unnamed external investor.
Stanhope’s involvement in the Stratford City site in East London has been ringfenced from the deal with Lipton, and Camp maintains that Stanhope owns its 25% of the Stratford City development but with the caveat that Lipton retains a share in the development. Lipton’s only other involvement with Stanhope is that he owns a token stake in the developer. Despite widespread speculation that Stanhope is looking to sell off his stake in the Stratford site, Camp said that as Stanhope is a £20m business working on a £5bn project, it was necessary for him to look for external investors to undertake a deal on the east London site. He said it was unclear how this would unfold at this stage.
In the meantime Lipton has teamed up with his old friend Elliot Bernerd, with whom he set up Stockley Park, to found a development company that is already competing on schemes against Stanhope.