Peter Morrison, chief executive of RMJM
Firm launches investigation after losing second scheme in a month
RMJM is carrying out an internal investigation into the circumstances of how it lost a deal on a headquarters building it was designing in Seoul.
It won the contract in the South Korean capital last autumn and was working on concept designs for the 25-storey tower with local practice Baum. It is the second time this month a client has ditched the firm from a job.
BD understands energy firm Samchully pulled the plug on RMJM earlier this month — apparently after becoming exasperated with RMJM over the number of people it was having to deal with because staff kept leaving.
Among those was New York-based Hyunjun Shin, director of its Korea business division, who this week RMJM publicly linked with its inquiry.
A RMJM spokesman said: “We are carrying out a full, forensic investigation into certain aspects of this project, which was under the direction of former RMJM employee Hyunjun Shin.” It declined to comment further until the investigation was completed.
Shin, who was unavailable for comment, left earlier this month joining a number of others departing RMJM who had also worked on the Samchully scheme. These include US design principal Roger Klein, Hong Kong principal Matthew Priestman, who left at the end of last year, and another Hong Kong-based designer Georges Hung who went part-time last month.
BD understands the job was switched from Hong Kong to New York earlier this year but the final straw came a couple of weeks ago with the departures of Shin and Klein — who are both now working for HOK.
Samchully, which is now talking to other architects about working up detailed designs, declined to comment, but one source said: “I just think they lost confidence the project could be delivered because of the people leaving. There was no continuity for them.”
Last week, BD reported that West Virginia University had ditched the firm from a rebuilding project because of worries over its finances and staff turnover.
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