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Alan Vallance to step down as RIBA chief executive


Man credited with turning around RIBA to become boss of Chartered Insurance Institute

RIBA chief executive Alan Vallance will be stepping down in July after six years in the role, the organisation has announced.

Vallance, who has held the position since February 2016, is leaving to become the new chief executive of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

He has presided over a transformation at RIBA which has seen the body recover from a dire financial position at the beginning of his tenure.

Alan Vallance

Alan Vallance leaves at the end of July after six years

Vallance oversaw the agreement of a joint venture and then sale of RIBA’s commercial arm, RIBA Enterprises/NBS, one of the biggest transactions in its history.

He will officially leave his role on 31 July. A process to recruit his successor is already underway.

Chair of the RIBA Board of Trustees Jack Pringle said: “On behalf of the RIBA Board, our members and staff team, I would like to thank Alan for his hard work over the last six years and wish him every success in his new role.

“From Brexit to the Covid pandemic, Alan has helped the organisation and our members navigate some incredibly challenging operating conditions.

“This is an exciting time of change for the RIBA. We have the foundations in place for a much more effective organisation, and we look forward to recruiting Alan’s successor to help us further embed our transformation and deliver on our ambitious goals.”

Vallance added: “After six great years it has been a difficult decision to move on from an organisation and team I care so much about, but it is the right time for the RIBA and for myself to take this step.

“It has been a privilege and honour to represent this world-class organisation and profession at the highest levels, globally.

“My sincere thanks to everyone who I have had the pleasure of working with.

“The RIBA is an incredible organisation – a force for good thanks to its impressive network of trustees, volunteers, partners and exceptional staff – and I am proud of our many collective achievements during my time at the helm.”

Former president Ben Derbyshire said RIBA had become leaner, more focused and relevant following a transformation that “would not have been possible without the foundations [Vallance] helped set down”.

“Not everyone has the sea-legs to weather tumultuous change but I’d say Alan has brought the ship home”, Derbyshire said, adding that Vallance had “a cool head, an eye for detail and experience of major transactions”.

Vallance also sat on several panels including the Professional Business Services Council, the Creative Industries Council and the Creative Industries Trade and Investment Board.

Ben Derbyshire on Alan Vallance:

Past president Stephen Hodder once said of me, ‘poor Ben, he’s surrounded by accountants’. Little did he know how grateful I was for the support and hard work of Alan Vallance and his executive team during my term at the institute in 2017/19. His predecessors had let things slip so badly that by the time I became president-elect the institute was close to insolvency. In those circumstances you need someone like Alan with a cool head, an eye for detail and experience of major transactions.

We worked closely together and with Council to turn things around so that by the time I left office the RIBA was refinanced with a substantial war chest and under new governance with an interdisciplinary board of trustees capable of overseeing the major changes inevitable for the institute to thrive in the future. I know things have not been easy in the intervening years but change never is. Not everyone has the sea-legs to weather tumultuous change but I’d say Alan has brought the ship home.

With Jack Pringle and Simon Allford at the helm, the restructuring we planned with senior members is now under way and its great to hear the current President talking of the coming renovation, opening up Portland Place to become the diverse House of Architecture it deserves to be. Alan Vallance leaves the RIBA at the right time to allow a cultural champion to take over as CEO of a leaner, more focussed and relevant RIBA that would not have been possible without the foundations he helped set down.

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