RIAS chief Neil Baxter steps down amid architecture revolt

Neil Baxter
Neil Baxter

Neil Baxter has left his position as secretary and treasurer of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) just days after a group of leading Scottish architects demanded a major shake-up of the organisation.

The RIAS made the announcement on Friday stating that Mr Baxter, who was appointed by the body 10 years ago, would be leaving with immediate effect.

RIAS president Stewart Henderson said in a statement: “The Royal Incorporation has agreed to the request from our Secretary, Neil Baxter Hon FRIAS Hon FRIBA, to leave the organisation after ten years of service.

“Neil will be standing down as of today and the senior management team at the RIAS will continue to deal with all matters relating to the business of the Incorporation.”

The resignation comes just days after 150 Scottish architects signed an open letter calling for a review of Scottish architecture’s professional body, accusing it of being financially inept and a “secretive and autocratic” organisation.

The group, calling itself A New Chapter, and includes leading figures including Malcolm Fraser, Charlie Hussey, Chris Platt, Helen Lucas, Jude Barber and Paul Stallan, outlined their concerns at what they see as “a lack of effectiveness, poor governance and insufficient financial accountability in Scottish architecture’s professional body”.

A statement from A New Chapter said Mr Baxter’s announcement “raises more questions than answers” over the governance, finance, strategy and relevance of RIAS.

A spokeswoman said: “Over the past few months A New Chapter has seen a surge in positive thoughts and ideas about what a progressive, 21st century organisation for architects in Scotland might look like, how it might behave and what it might do.

“We now look to our president and representatives on the RIAS council to answer our ongoing questions and now, to clarify why the secretary and treasurer has tendered a sudden resignation.”

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