New Group Board Directors Jon Hale and Mikel Barriola on their new roles and visions for the future

Our CEE Director Jon Hale and our Madrid studio Managing Director Mikel Barriola joined Chapman Taylor’s Group Board on 1 September 2020. Their appointments, joining existing Group Board Members Chris Lanksbury, Adrian Griffiths, Tim Partington and Michael Cottam, form part of Chapman Taylor’s ongoing strategy for successfully transitioning the business leadership to a new generation and ensuring sustainable and successful international growth in the years to come. Jon and Mikel talk to us here about how they see their roles and what their appointments signify for the future direction of the company.

Jon Hale and Mikel Barriola

Congratulations to you both on your appointments! How are you adapting to your new roles?

MB: We are taking our time to understand the Group Board’s roles and responsibilities, how the Group works and the company’s current position within various international markets. There are so many different aspects to the Group Board’s activities that there will inevitably be “bedding in” time required before Jon and I start to actively shape the future direction of the company alongside the existing Group Board members. However, we will bring new perspectives and experiences to the Board, particularly with us both being based outside the UK.

JH: We will be learning more about the ways in which business is done around the world, the varied types of projects on which we work in each location and how Chapman Taylor’s international studios work individually and together. The established Group Board members have a wealth of experience and wisdom on which to draw, which will be a great asset as Mikel and I find our feet. We can also bring back what we learn to our regional studios.

Will your new roles affect your existing studio leadership roles?

MB: Our new positions on the Group Board will complement our roles within our studios, although inevitably there will be less time dedicated purely to those studios because of the need to attend to the international business. In Madrid, there is a very strong team of Directors and Associate Directors who can ensure continuity of service as I adjust to the new balance, although my role as Managing Director of the Madrid studio will not fundamentally change.

JH: We also have a strong management team in the CEE region, and I trust them to support me during the coming months and ensure a smooth transition. It is an opportunity for the younger team members in both Madrid and the CEE studios to grow and I am confident they will. Those who step up have a great chance to become the future leaders of the business.

Are your appointments indicative of Chapman Taylor’s future being ever more global?

JH: What’s positive about this evolution of the Chapman Taylor business is that it recognises that more than half of the Group’s work is outside the UK and that the make-up of the company’s senior leadership should reflect that. This step also marks an increasing appreciation that Chapman Taylor’s future is very much a global one, although the UK business will continue to act as a bedrock throughout the transition.

MB: It’s a great honour for us to be the first Group Board Directors based outside the UK and for me to be the first non-British Group Board Director in Chapman Taylor’s history. It very much reflects Chapman Taylor’s international mindset and a determination to strengthen the position of the company’s international studios within the Group.

JH: In time, we will see even more international and cultural diversity within the company’s leadership levels, which will bring many benefits to the company and to our clients.

Your appointments are part of a five-year transition programme in terms of Chapman Taylor’s leadership and structure. What are your thoughts on promoting the brightest next-generation talents?

MB: We need to bring through a diverse mix of younger people, whether based in the UK or across the international business, who are determined to successfully grow Chapman Taylor and will provide the Group Board members of decades to come. A strong mix of voices from different cultural perspectives can only make Chapman Taylor stronger. The five-year transition will mark the start of that process and is an opportunity that we need to grasp and nurture.

JH: Broadening the profile of the Group Board sends a positive message to the younger members of the international studios and will further help us to identify the best talent throughout the global business. The more that we can encourage and promote those people, the better it is for our business and for the quality of our projects.

The opportunities I have been given since I joined Chapman Taylor in 1997 have enabled me to progress to this position, which is something I really value, but never quite anticipated at the start. I trust it shows the younger members of the business that the opportunity exists to grow within the group and that there is a very good incentive to commit to the long-term success of Chapman Taylor.

How do you foresee Chapman Taylor evolving in the next decade?

JH: We should learn from the formula that has served Chapman Taylor successfully in recent decades, which is to identify opportunities in new markets and in new sectors, understanding what our clients really want and aligning our skill sets with those requirements.

Our colleagues are currently developing technologies and processes to allow us to collaborate more efficiently as one worldwide business. There is a lot of knowledge accumulated within each studio which can be of great benefit to others within the group, so we need to share this information effectively across our network.

Climate change is another challenge we are dealing with; it is influencing our approach to design as well as how we ourselves operate as a business. Architects should be helping to set the agenda and encouraging governments and our clients to understand the urgent need for change in the way we design, procure, use and manage buildings. Chapman Taylor needs to adapt to these new demands and aim to be recognised as an industry leader in this regard.

MB: We need to continuously improve our design quality, being flexible, technologically strong and environmentally conscious if we are to thrive. Chapman Taylor has a strong ethos and well-established traditions, which will keep us well-grounded as we adapt to the rapidly evolving demands of markets throughout the world as well as the ongoing revolution in digital technology and other socio-economic developments.

What are you looking forward to most about your new roles?

MB: For me, a key goal is to further integrate Chapman Taylor’s international studios, with even better and more intense communication at all levels of the business. We need to talk to each other more and share more and I would like to see us develop a much more unified mindset, to the benefit of us all.

JH: I look forward to visiting our studios, both virtually and, when possible, physically. There is so much that we can learn from each other. Every time I meet my colleagues throughout the Group, I return to Prague with new ideas and perspectives which have, in turn, helped us to improve how we work on our own designs and the services we offer our clients in CEE. If we can develop this approach, it will help the business to evolve even faster, which will provide even more exciting opportunities for Chapman Taylor in the years ahead.

Mikel Barriola (B Arch Dip Arch ARB BEDA (Hons) COAM)

Group Board Director, Madrid

With a well-established track record, Mikel has experience on major projects across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America, with design expertise in retail, leisure, residential, hospitality and mixed-use developments.

Mikel joined Chapman Taylor in 1997 and became a Director of the Madrid studio in 2003. He joined the Group Board in 2020 and continues to take responsibility for the Madrid studio as Managing Director, including the direction and management of design, technical, financial and office administration.

Areas of expertise:

Masterplanning / Mixed-use / Urban Regeneration / Retail / Leisure

Mikel se incorporó a Chapman Taylor en 1997 y se convirtió en Director del Estudio de Madrid en 2003. Hoy en día es el Director General y tiene la responsabilidad de la dirección general del Estudio (diseño, parte técnica y financiera y administración de la oficina).

La experiencia que posee Mikel se extiende por toda Europa, Medio Oriente, África y Sudamérica siendo especialista en el diseño de centros comerciales, de ocio, viviendas, hoteles y proyectos de uso mixto.

Áreas de especialización:

Planes Directores / Uso Mixto / Regeneración urbana / Centros Comerciales / Ocio

Jon Hale (BA (Hons) Dip Arch ARB ČKA)

Group Board Director, Prague

Jon heads up Chapman Taylor's business in the Central Eastern Europe (CEE) region, leading on the design and implementation of projects in the Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Serbia.

Based in Prague since 1991, Jon joined Chapman Taylor in London in 1997 and was invited to the Group Board in 2020. His knowledge of the CEE markets and his leadership have helped our Prague studio become one of the foremost architects of commercial buildings in the region. The Prague team is dedicated to delivering high-quality architecture to clients in the CEE region with a strong emphasis on delivering sustainable and commercially successful projects that people enjoy.

Areas of expertise:

Mixed-use / Workplace / Residential / Retail

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