David Pringle
Photo courtesy rmjm.com
David Pringle

One of the world's largest architectural firms, the Scotland-based RMJM, is losing three key executives, in addition to losing two others within the past 10 months.

Most significantly, David Pringle, the company’s CEO, Asia and Middle East, will leave at the end of this year. Gordon Affleck, design director for the firm’s Middle East office, and Colin Moses, international principal based in Europe, will also leave at that time. Hugh Mullan, managing director in the Middle East, left in May. It is unknown what they plan to do next. 

Moreover, Adrian Boot, another international principal based in Europe, left in November 2009.

All five were part of RMJM’s top executive cadre, which currently numbers 18 members (including Pringle, Affleck, and Moses). Overall, the firm has nearly 1,000 employees. Alex Barr, an RMJM spokesman, says he is uncertain whether the firm will hire replacements for the departing leaders.

The five executives have been tight-lipped about their decisions. On August 28, the Edinburgh-based newspaper The Scotsman reported that staff members are increasingly unhappy with the firm’s management, led by group CEO Peter Morrison, and his father, North American CEO Fraser Morrison. The Scotsman, which quoted anonymous sources, also suggested that the situation has been exacerbated by the addition of former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Fred Goodwin as an advisor this past January.

Barr insists the departures are merely part of regular business. “The fact is that there are a thousand staff in the company, and people come and go,” he says. “There’s absolutely no doubt that David Pringle was a senior guy who played a key role in the growth of the business in the Middle East, but his departure is entirely amicable. He’s going to do something in the Far East that isn’t particularly connected with architecture. He’s still here [until end of this year], and will remain an advisor with the business. It’s very friendly.”

Pringle, Affleck, or Moses did not return phone calls or e-mails from RECORD; Mullan and Boot could not be located. Moses did, however, release a prepared statement, in which he wrote: “As a team, we have worked together to develop detailed plans to ensure a seamless continuity within the practice. It’s crucially important to me and to the firm that our clients will continue to receive the highest standards of service across all our ongoing projects.”

While The Scotsman reported that RMJM struggled financially last year, Barr says the firm has enjoyed a strong 2010. “In September 2009, the order book was at £45 million; it’s currently at £95 million,” he says. “The business is in really good shape and winning lots of new work.”