David Chipperfield’s managing director has left to take up a senior position at Zaha Hadid Architects

Paul Crosby, who headed the operational side of Chipperfield’s practice, joined Hadid as general manager on 2 March. Sources close to Zaha Hadid Architects said he had been appointed to give “structure” to the practice.

Crosby had been with David Chipperfield for nine years. As well as acting as managing director, he worked on buildings such as the headquarters for BBC Scotland, where he was a project director.

Although the two practices compete in competitions, they have differing styles. Chipperfield is known for working within the modernist tradition, whereas Hadid has become famous for the complexity of her designs.

Chipperfield takes on employees on a temporary basis to help deliver individual projects, and employs only a small team of associates and directors on a permanent basis. Hadid’s practice is understood to be structured in a less formal manner.

The fallout from the recession has recently forced Hadid to make redundancies, and sources speculated that the appointment of Crosby could be an attempt to steady the ship.

One said: “Paul is the managerial type so he will give Zaha a lot of structure. It’s a surprising move – he has been with Chipperfield for a long time.”

A spokeperson for Hadid confirmed Crosby’s appointment and said he would help “accommodate the exponential growth of the firm over recent years”.