Ex-Staffer Dishes Dirt on RMJM

Despite a few months of quiet from the negative press that seemed to hang heavy over RMJM, one of the world’s largest architecture firms, doesn’t seem quite ready to dissipate completely. The issues began being reported back in November of last year, when the firm found itself battling stories about their resident starchitect, Will Alsop, not landing any jobs for them, along with news of layoffs, and staff and principals leaving the company both voluntarily and in high numbers. That was followed by news of its American arm filing suit against it over unpaid bills and several more departures wherein the staffer wouldn’t just get up and leave, but would fire off a company-wide email voicing their complaints against the company before heading out the door. Though the injection of an £8 million bail-out from the personal coffers of the company’s CEO, Peter Morrison, seemed to appease the bad press for a little while, those upset former employees still sound like they’re more than happy to talk. This weekend, David Pringle, the head of RMJM’s Middle East and Asia branches, and one of the 80 employees who walked out in one fell swoop, spoke to the Scotsman, spilling the beans on both the turmoil and the dire situation the company seemed to be in. Chief among his complaints were, first, that RMJM short-lived leader, former banker Fred Goodwin, was “deeply unpopular” and that he was ruthless when it came to financing, so much so that it led to Pringle’s second complaint: that he felt forced to make a £200,000 loan out of his own pocket to help pay salaries for the offices, since the company didn’t ever seem to be handing them out (something that still seems to be plaguing RMJM, despite the bail-out). On the positive side, in a separate story filed by the Scotsman, Pringle has landed a job with the firm founded by those other former RMJM walk-outs, 10 Design (the company now reportedly comprises of at least half ex-RMJM’ers). What’s more, the company has just landed its first major commission, a massive retail complex in southern China.