Scottish firm hires “world’s worst banker”
Only months after Edinburgh based RMJM controversially appointed Will Alsop to head up its design team, it has brought in Sir Fred Goodwin, ex RBS chairman, dubbed by the world’s media as the “world’s worst banker” to advise on the architecture firm's expansion strategy.
This brave move by CEO, Peter Morrison is defining a wholly new profile for RMJM and elevates the firm’s image from a dour Scottish outfit to one more befitting Hollywood.
Just over a year ago Goodwin was the most hated figure in UK banking, having had the window of his Edinburgh home smashed in by angry members of the public sending him into exile in Southern France, and was dubbed the 'world's worst banker' after claiming a £16million pension from the failed Royal Bank of Scotland on his departure. But just 14 months later, international architecture firm RMJM have given refuge to former RBS Chief Executive Sir Fred Goodwin offering him a senior position in the firm.
Citing Goodwin's 'considerable international experience' as a factor in his employment, RMJM announced Goodwin's appointment to the firm's advisory group in an internal mailer on Friday. "In order to support our international expansion strategy, we have engaged Sir Fred Goodwin as an advisor to the business," reads the mailer by Group CEO Peter Morrison. "I am delighted to welcome Fred to RMJM and look forward to him becoming an integral part of our established advisory team." Although the firm is officially announcing the appointment today, Goodwin has in fact already been undertaking some consultancy services. It has been announced that he will be working closely with RMJM’s Executive team identifying potential markets and client opportunities primarily in previously identified key international growth markets.
A spokesperson for RMJM said: “Sir Fred Goodwin is someone who has been known to RMJM on an informal basis for several years. Once we approached him, it was clear that we both saw exciting potential and discussions developed pretty quickly. His experience of building a global business and expanding into international markets from a Scottish base is significant and relevant to us. We have absolutely no doubt that he will be a huge asset to our company. We have broken the mould of international architectural firms, and look forward to breaking new ground over the coming years. The RMJM model is most certainly unique within our industry and has been built around supplementing what we believe to be an extraordinary depth of creative talent in our studios around the world with business people from a wide range of backgrounds and with a diversity of experience.”
Goodwin will now rise from the mirk of the financial crisis as a central force in the international expansion of RMJM, which already boasts a 1000 strong workforce across 17 offices worldwide. Goodwin joins President of the International Academy of Emerging Markets - Dr Vladimir Kvint, former Principal of the National Memorial Heritage Fund - Dr Brian Lang and Professor of Design Technology and Management at the Harvard Design School - Dr Spiro Pollalis who already advise RMJM.
Brave moves indeed. Watch this space...