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Burne Hands MD Role Over to Critchlow

The directors of  AEW Architects have announced that Andy Critchlow is to take on the role of managing director from Steve Burne to allow Steve to concentrate on beating his recently diagnosed cancer.

Andy has been with the business for 17 years and is an equal shareholder alongside Burne and Nigel Machin, with Andy Rainford as the fourth director. Critchlow has so far focused on retail and has been responsible for the firm’s largest client, McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd since 2001, carrying out over 6,000 commissions in that time, as well as the roll out programme for Domino’s Pizza Group. He has been a director since 2007 and an equal shareholder since 2013.

Since the business was founded in 1992, the firm has grown to become one of the largest architectural practices in the region with a total headcount of 79. Based at The Zenith in Spring Gardens, AEW currently operates across a wide range of sectors including Offices, Retail, Industrial, Accommodation and Sport.

In 2013, the directors took a proactive decision to restructure the business, which today includes eight Associate Director led teams, each of which specialises in specific sectors and are integral to the business’ future.

AEW’s Burne Hands MD Role Over To Critchlow

Steve, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in the shoulder/chest called synovial sarcoma in May and is being treated at The Christie Hospital in Manchester, commented: “Continuity and succession is ultimately what every business owner strives for and so, whilst it’s a strange feeling after 22 years to be away from the office, I feel very proud that the team we have in place can carry on totally unaffected and continue to service our clients. I have finally been found out that I am not actually needed!

“Over the last few years the other directors, and Andy Critchlow in particular, have been instrumental in driving the business to a new level, bringing new thinking and fresh ideas to the directors’ forum. Andy and I discussed him taking on the role of managing director over a year ago and it now feels like a seamless transition and the perfect time for him to lead AEW through the exciting times ahead.

“I will be back fighting fit as soon as possible and I have to say that the messages of support that I have received from friends, clients and colleagues in the industry has helped me keep positive – they have been hugely appreciated.”

Andy continued: “Steve has long been a strong driving force behind AEW and I have no doubt he will be back again doing the same. Rather prophetically, we have been developing the structure of the business for some years so we are strong in teams and not reliant on individuals. We have orchestrated a management and team structure which has allowed the business to grow around our specialist sectors under the expertise of staff with unrivalled knowledge in each of those areas. We have recently added social housing expertise to our accommodation team, which sits alongside our retail, industrial, office and sports teams.

“Steve is a core part of our family here at AEW and we’ll be taking good care of the business for when he returns.”

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