Bristol architect appointed to head up major global practice

Nick Fairham

Bristol-based Nick Fairham has been appointed to head up BDP, a global architecture and engineering design practice which has more than 1,000 staff and studios around the world.

The leading international interdisciplinary practice of architects, engineers, designers and urbanists has appointed Nick as its new chief executive.

Currently responsible for leading the Bristol, Cardiff and Middle East and North Africa studios, Nick has led design teams on major commissions both in the UK and internationally and will take up the reins as chief executive on 1st July.

Nick has more than 25 years of national and international experience, particularly in the field of healthcare design, focusing mainly on large scale acute hospitals. Projects include leading the team for the Grange University Hospital near Newport, working on the award-winning Southmead Hospital in Bristol and Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton. His team recently delivered the Nightingale facilities in Cardiff and Bristol. He joined BDP in 2006.

Current chief executive, John McManus who has been in the post since January 2014, made the decision to step down in preparation for retirement later this year.

Nick Fairham said: “As BDP prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary, it is a truly exciting time to take up the role of chief executive.

“Our practice was founded on the principles of achieving more through collaboration and innovation.  This ethos has created a culture of creative thinking where the ideas and insights from over 1000 talented people enable us to uniquely respond to the ever-changing needs of our clients and the communities we serve.

“Our plans for the future will bring our unique blend of design excellence, multi-disciplinary skills and sector expertise closer to our clients through our global network of studios.  We will continue to focus on the values of human-centric design and through the use of research and technology will be evidence-based in our sustainable, award-winning design approach.”

Nick will continue to be responsible for leading the Bristol, Cardiff and Middle East and North Africa studios. 

Under the leadership of John McManus, BDP has become a major international design practice doubling in size with turnover increasing from £67.7 million in October 2013 to £131.3 million by June 2020. He oversaw the transaction in March 2016, when BDP combined forces with Japan’s leading engineering practice Nippon Koei and was instrumental in establishing a strong base of 200 staff in North America.  

John McManus said: “After 36 years in BDP, I have decided to retire from the practice at the end of this year. I was first elected by the Board in October 2013 and it has been both an honour and a privilege to represent this very special firm as chief executive.

“I can say unequivocally that the last eight years have been the most rewarding of my career.

“I am delighted to pass the baton to Nick. I wish him every success and I am confident that he has the vision, energy and passion to take the practice to new levels of achievement in an increasingly global marketplace. I will work alongside Nick over the coming months to ensure that we achieve a smooth and effective transition.”