Sir George Iacobescu CBE is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canary Wharf Group, a company with assets of approximately £7.8 bn which has developed 16.5 million square feet in 33 buildings. Currently the company has under way another 11m sq ft of development in various stages delivering another 36 buildings including a major 6m sq ft extension of the Canary Wharf estate to the east. The Canary Wharf Estate is internationally recognised as the largest and most successful inner city regeneration project in the world. Over 30 years, a derelict dock has been transformed into the second largest banking and business services centre in Europe with high quality office accommodation, over 300 shops, bars and restaurants within five retail malls, including the new opening of Crossrail Place, plus 20 acres of landscaped open spaces. Canary Wharf has a working population of over 120,000 people, larger than the City of Cambridge and larger than the financial centre of Frankfurt.
Recently Canary Wharf Group has completed work on 20 Fenchurch Street (the “Walkie Talkie” building) in the City of London and has started construction on the mixed-use 7 building redevelopment of Southbank Place, the former Shell Centre in Waterloo.
Once complete the Canary Wharf estate will encompass some 25m sq ft of offices, more than 4,000 homes including significant numbers of directly rented apartments, and over 1m sq ft of retail. Increasingly the estate has become a leisure and retail destination as well as a centre for technology and other high growth businesses.
He is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the British Museum, and was founding Co-Chairman of Teach First. Sir George is Vice Patron of the Royal British Society of Sculptors and a Council Member of the Royal College of Music. He is a fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and a member of the Institute of Directors. He also serves as a Board member of a number of other charities and the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Development Board.
Sir Iacobescu became Senior Vice-President of Olympia and York responsible for the Canary Wharf project in London in 1988, taking the role of Deputy Chief Executive of the newly-formed Canary Wharf Group in 1995 and then Chief Executive in 1997. He additionally took on the role of Chairman of the company in 2011.
He was born and educated as a civil engineer in Bucharest, Romania before emigrating to Canada. His work in construction and development outside the UK has included residential developments in Montreal, First Canadian Place in Toronto, the Niemans Marcus Building in Chicago and the World Financial Centre (now Brookfield Place) and Battery Park, both in New York. Sir George was Construction Director and then Vice President of Olympia and York, then the largest property developer in the world, from 1978-1988.
Sir Iacobescu has been involved with a large number of charitable, community and business organisations as well as public service: He currently serves as a member of the Mayor of London’s Brexit Advisory Group, and as a Commissioner for Lord Michael Heseltine’s Thames Estuary Commission. He was previously appointed by the Secretary of State to the Defence Reform Unit in charge with the reorganisation of the MOD. He a member of the Advisory Board of the UK Academy of Finance and of TheCityUK, and is a Director of London First.
He was knighted in 2012 by Her Majesty The Queen for services to charity, community and the financial services industry in the New Year Honours list. He had previously been appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2003 for services to regeneration and inward investment. He is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute, an appointed member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, an Honorary Freeman of the City of London and an Honorary Member of the Worshipful Company of Lightmongers. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration (Hon DBA) from the University of East London.