Canary Wharf Group’s Chairman to retire after 36 years

After his long and successful career at Canary Wharf, Sir George will be succeeded by Sir Nigel Wilson as Non-Executive Chairman.

After 36 years as Chairman for the Canary Wharf Group, Sir George Iacobescu will retire | BTR News
After 36 years as Chairman for the Canary Wharf Group, Sir George Iacobescu will retire.

Canary Wharf Group Investment Holdings plc has announced that its Chairman Sir George Iacobescu will retire from the Board on Monday 1 July 2024.

Since 1988, Sir George has been a driving force behind the redevelopment of London’s Docklands. He became Chief Executive of Canary Wharf Group in 1997 and its Chairman in 2011.

He was knighted in 2012 for services to charity, community and the financial services industry – the only Romanian born British citizen to be honoured this way.

“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. Canary Wharf Group 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 UK’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 Shobi Khan. Sir Nigel’s track record at Legal and General is exceptional. I wish him, Shobi, and the leadership team of Canary Wharf Group every success.”

Sir George Iacobescu

Succeeding Sir George, Sir Nigel Wilson’s most notorious role was that of Chief Executive of Legal and General, which he led for almost 12 years championing for profitable, sustainable and inclusive growth and responsible investment and regeneration.

Legal and General was voted by its peers as Britain’s Most Admired Company for the last two years and Sir Nigel was previously voted Britain’s Most Admired Leader. He has also held numerous Government policy related roles.

“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 sq ft 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.”

Sir Nigel Wilson

Canary Wharf is home to Vertus’ 10 George Street Build to Rent scheme, which launched nine new apartments back in 2022, 8 Water Street which launched in 2020, and the Newfoundland scheme which includes ten penthouse apartments launched in October 2022 on the top floor of the UK’s tallest Build to Rent building. In January 2023, Vertus hit a major milestone, with all of its buildings fully occupied.

In July 2023, Canary Wharf Group received a £535m loan from Cain International and Starwood Capital Group for its Wood Wharf Build to Rent development. A part of the wider Canary Wharf estate, Wood Wharf Phase 3 will deliver a 1,308-home Build to Rent scheme split across three towers and two buildings, alongside c. 26,300 sq ft Net Internal Area (NIA) of ancillary commercial space.