Former­army­cap­tain’sbusi­ness­brain­helped to­turn­com­pa­ny­in­toa­ma­jor­glob­al­busi­ness

The Scotsman - - News -

rmjm’s ap­point­ment of sir Fred Good­win as a spe­cial ad­viser raised eye­brows in the ar­chi­tec­ture world.

The firm said “Fred the shred” – a close friend of the mor­ri­son fam­ily, the fa­ther-and-son team be­hind the com­pany – was al­ready fa­mil­iar with the work­ings of the busi­ness and well placed to of­fer his ex­per­tise to a com­pany look­ing to emerg­ing mar­kets for its rapid ex­pan­sion. They may well have been right.

How­ever, sir Fred – al­though per­haps rmjm’s most con­tro­ver­sial ap­point­ment – was not the first non-ar­chi­tect to take on a se­nior role at the com­pany.

Cur­rent chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter mor­ri­son started out as a for­mer cap­tain in the Bri­tish Army and spent a num­ber of years in­volved in pri­vate eq­uity deals. He joined rmjm in 2003 as a non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the hold­ing com­pany af­ter the sale of his fam­ily build­ing firm, mor­ri­son Con­struc­tion.

Three years later, along with his fa­ther, sir Fraser mor­ri­son, the young en­ter­preneur bought in to the man­age­ment of rmjm, which he has re­called as be­ing a “tired ar­chi­tec­tural firm”, and be­came chief ex­ec­u­tive.

It is mr mor­ri­son’s busi­ness brain, in lieu of a knowl­edge of build­ing de­sign, which has trans­formed rmjm from a mod­er­ately suc­cess­ful scot­tish ar­chi­tec­ture firm into a ma­jor global busi­ness.

The com­pany was founded in 1956 by mod­ernist ar­chi­tects robert matthew and stir­rat john­son-mar­shall. Now based in Ed­in­burgh’s Bell’s Brae, it has four other ma­jor of­fices it de­scribes as strate­gic global hubs, in Dubai, New York, London and Hong Kong, as well as nu­mer­ous smaller of­fices across the world.

Three years ago, the firm made a trans­for­ma­tional ac­qui­si­tion – a $30 mil­lion deal which saw it take over New jersey-based Hil­lier Ar­chi­tec­ture (it­self the 19th largest prac­tice in the world), to form a 1,200-per­son com­pany headed by mor­ri­son se­nior.

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