RIBA president Alan Jones unexpectedly steps down

The president of the Royal Institute of British Architects has temporarily stepped down from his role due to personal reasons.

Jones, who became RIBA president in September 2019, told the organisation that he needed to "take some time out" from his duties. According to the organisation Jones will not be returning to his position for at least four weeks.

Kerr Robertson, RIBA honorary secretary, has been appointed to oversee the president's duties for the interim period.

Jones grateful for "strong support" from family

In an email to staff seen by UK magazine Architects' Journal, Jones said that a "matter had arisen" in his personal life.

"I'm grateful for the strong support I have from my wife and family," he wrote, adding that he "would be grateful if everyone could respect our privacy".

"I appreciate this comes at a time when there are extraordinary demands on everyone and I can only ask that you reinforce your support to our staff and senior officers during this period," said Jones.

Jones to step away for up to six weeks

RIBA chief executive Alan Vallance confirmed that Jones would not be returning for four to six weeks.

"We will be working as hard as ever during the president's time away to ensure minimum disruption to the RIBA business," Vallance told Dezeen.

"The RIBA is led by a team of dedicated senior trustees and expert staff, who will continue to support our members and represent their interests at the highest levels."

Before he was elected as the first RIBA president from Northern Ireland, Jones was the RIBA vice president for education. He is a senior lecturer at Queen's University Belfast and recently co-edited a book called Defining Contemporary Professionalism for Architects in Practice & Education.

Taking over from previous RIBA president Ben Derbyshire, Jones is the 78th president of the organisation since the role began in 1835.

Under his presidency RIBA launched a sustainability guide for its members, after declaring a climate emergency last year.