Andy Critchlow is to take on the role of managing director at Manchester-based AEW Architects, to allow Steve Burne to concentrate on beating his recently diagnosed cancer.
In May, Burne was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in the shoulder and chest called synovial sarcoma and is being treated at the Christie Hospital in Manchester.
He said: “Continuity and succession is ultimately what every business 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.
“Over the last few years the other directors, and Andy Critchlow in particular have been instrumental in driving the business to a new level. Andy and I discussed him taking on the role of managing director over a year ago and it now feels like 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.”
Critchlow 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. He has largely focused on retail throughout his career, taking responsibility for AEW’s work with its largest client McDonald’s Restaurants.
Since 2001 more than 6,000 commissions have been carried out for the group, while Critchlow has also overseen a rollout programme for Domino’s Pizza. He has been a director since 2007 and an equal shareholder since 2013. Formed in 1992, AEW has grown to a current headcount of 79.
He said: “Steve has long been a strong driving force behind AEW and I have no doubt he will be back again doing the same. 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.”