Long-standing Canary Wharf chair to step down

19th June 2024 | Jack Oliver

The chair of the Canary Wharf Group (CWG) is to retire from the board in July after 36 years at the company.

Sir George Iacobescu has been a key factor in driving the redevelopment of London’s Docklands since joining the company in 1988. He became chief executive of CWG in 1997 before taking on the role of chair in 2011.

Iacobescu was knighted in 2012 for services to charity, community, and the financial services industry, and is the only Romanian-born British citizen to receive this honour.

He will be succeeded at CWG by Sir Nigel Wilson as non-executive chair. Wilson is currently chief executive officer of Legal & General, where he has led for almost 12 years.

Sir George Iacobescu said: “It has been the honour and the challenge of a lifetime to have worked with an extraordinary group of people transforming a derelict dock into a thriving mixed-use city district. CWG is the first company on the planet to have built an entirely new central business district from scratch.

“Today, Canary Wharf is home to thousands of residents, businesses large and small across many sectors, one of the U.K.’s busiest shopping centres as well as parks, gardens, shops, restaurants and bars. It is a thriving community in the heart of the old East End.

“With the continuing growth of the tech sector, health and life sciences, new leisure activities and the greening of the Wharf, there are exciting times ahead for the estate.

“I am particularly proud of the close working relationship we have had with the local community and the whole of London, helping support local employment and acting as the anchor for the regeneration of East London.

“My enormous gratitude goes to all my colleagues over so many years who have contributed in equal measure to the success of Canary Wharf. I am pleased to be leaving the company under the capable stewardship of Sir Nigel and [CEO] Shobi Khan. Sir Nigel’s track record at Legal & General is exceptional. I wish him, Shobi, and the leadership team of CWG every success.”

Sir Nigel Wilson added: “For over three decades, Sir George’s visionary leadership, design prowess, and engineering acumen have transformed Canary Wharf into a mini-city that competes on a global stage. I have had the privilege of observing his contribution as a force for progressive change for the UK economy, generating jobs, supporting construction firms and bolstering the wider business community. I am honoured to be stepping into his role as chair.

“Canary Wharf is becoming a city within a city with approximately 20 million square feet of vibrant space across offices, housing, retail and leisure. Its great transport links are driving record footfall numbers with over 67.2 million visitors last year. I am excited about the opportunity to leverage my experience to support its growth strategy and to collaborate with Shobi Khan, chief executive, and his dynamic management team.”


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