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New co-chairman and new MD EMEA at Populous

Populous board members. From left to right. Mike Trice (director), Rod Sheard (co-chairman & founder), Peter Rigby (co-chairman), Christopher Lee (managing director), Nick Reynolds (director), Ben Vickery (director )

Populous has announced that Peter Rigby, formerly Chief Executive of Informa Plc, is to join the company as co-chairman of its operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In addition, senior principal Christopher Lee has been promoted to Managing Director.

Rigby joins existing chairman, founder and senior principal Rod Sheard in overseeing the development of Populous’ growing business in EMEA.  Populous states that the combination of Rigby’s proven track record for identifying commercial opportunities and partnerships, with Sheard’s experience as one of the world’s leading architects in sports and entertainment, will help it meet the growing demand for its design expertise.

An exceptional business leader and strategist, Rigby’s 30 year career and leadership at Informa, the international publishing, business information and event business, saw the value of the company increase dramatically to a market capitalisation of £3bn.

Lee has worked for Populous in Australia, the United States and Europe and been involved in the design of more than 30 stadia including the ANZ Stadium for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London and the Estadio das Dunas for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He is currently leading the company’s projects in Qatar and for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

Commenting on the appointments, Sheard said:

Looking ahead, we want to continue our focus on excellence and innovation. We are structuring our business to best support our clients’ growing needs; to be able to work in diverse markets and to stay ahead of market demands.

I have known Peter personally for many years and admired the way he steered Informa’s growth into a hugely successful global media group. I have no doubt that his enthusiasm, enterprise and strategic counsel will help Populous maintain and develop its leading position in the design of world-class facilities and events.

Our success has been built on designing venues that draw people together for truly memorable experiences. No one understands that better than Christopher Lee, who alongside our highly experienced team of senior principals, has played a big part in the growth of our European operations.

The full EMEA Board (pictured) comprises senior principals Ben Vickery, Christopher Lee, Mike Trice, Nicholas Reynolds and Rod Sheard.  Together they have worked on many iconic and well-loved venues including Wembley, Emirates, the Millennium and Aviva stadiums, Wimbledon, Ascot, the O2 Arena, Silverstone and both the Sydney and London Olympics.

Last year, five venues designed by Populous hosted matches in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Opened in January, Parc Olympique Lyonnais will host the final of the rugby Challenge and Championship Cups in May as well as five matches of the European Championships.

Projects being undertaken by Populous include the new stadium, leisure and community facilities for Tottenham Hotspur F.C; an elite and community training centre for Queen’s Park Rangers; a flexible 12,000 capacity Arena in Bristol; the Circuit of Wales motorsport and leisure precinct in South Wales; the Lord’s Masterplan and Warner Stand, and a new home for French Rugby near Paris.  The practice is also putting the finishing touches to the transformation of the Populous-designed London Olympic Stadium, for it to become the new home of UK athletics and West Ham United F.C.

EMEA operations have recently been extended with the opening of an office in Doha to facilitate the delivery of projects for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar as well as the strategic 2015 merger with London-based interiors firm Jump Studios.