George Iacobescu

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George Iacobescu
Born (1945-11-09) 9 November 1945 (age 70)
Bucharest, Romania
Nationality British
Occupation Chairman and CEO, Canary Wharf Group
Children Julie Iacobescu

Sir George Iacobescu CBE (born 9 November 1945) is the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Canary Wharf Group, the London-based owners and developers of the Canary Wharf estate in London Docklands. He is one of the most successful Romanian-born businessmen.[1]

Early life[edit]

Iacobescu was born in Bucharest, Romania. His father was a haematologist and his grandfather was a lawyer and newspaper publisher.[2] Iacobescu studied civil and industrial engineering at Bucharest University.[3]


After graduating, he worked as a structural engineer in Romania, his first job designing pump stations for a state-run business.[2] He was determined to leave the country, then under the control of Nicolae Ceauşescu's Communist Party, and so in 1975 Iacobescu used contacts in the West to escape to Montreal, Canada.[2] He was forced to leave his fiancée, Gabriela, behind, and so lobbied for her to be allowed to join him, which she did in 1977.[2]

On arrival in Canada he started in the property industry, and from 1975 to 1978, was construction director of Homeco Investments, a German-Canadian joint venture in Montreal and Toronto working on landmark buildings throughout North America. After moving to Toronto, Iacobescu worked for the Olympia & York company as an engineer. Following this, he worked as construction manager and then vice-president of Olympia & York from 1978 to 1987[4] working on many large construction projects, including the construction of the World Financial Centre, 4m sq ft headquarters of Merrill Lynch,[1] the Olympia Centre in Chicago, and the construction of Granicor, in Quebec.

In 1988, Iacobescu moved to London as senior vice-president of Olympia & York, to oversee the construction budget and delivery of the Canary Wharf project.[1] He stayed with the project when Olympia & York went into administration in 1991, working as Construction Director. He became Deputy Chief executive of the Canary Wharf Group when it was formed in 1995, and Chief Executive in March 1997.[2][5] During his time at Canary Wharf, Iacobescu has participated in the development and construction of more than 30 buildings.[1]

Iacobescu was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2003 Birthday Honours for services to regeneration and inward investment[2][6] Iacobescu is a member of the Board of Trustees of the British Museum.[7] In June 2011, 10 Downing Street announced that the Prime Minister would be re-appointing him to this post for a period of four years from 1 July 2011.[8] In addition to this role he is Vice-Patron of the Royal British Society of Sculptors,[9] a Patron of Jewish Care and the Community Safety Trust, and was founding Co-Chairman of Teach First.[10] He is also a Director of London First, and on the Advisory Board of the financial services organisation TheCityUK.[11]

In June 2011, Iacobescu was also appointed chairman of the Canary Wharf Group replacing Sir Martin Jacomb who retired; he holds both chairman and CEO positions.[5]


On 31 December 2011, he was knighted for services to charity, community and the financial services industry.[12] He is the third Romanian-born person to be knighted[13][14] (after Elie Wiesel and Mihail Cârciog).[15]

Personal life[edit]

Iacobescu is the father of one daughter, Julie, who runs a fashion business in Romania.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d "George Iacobescu Biography". Canary Wharf Corporate Website. Retrieved 18 September 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "George Iacobescu: the bankers' landlord". Daily Telegraph. 21 December 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "City Profile: From communism to the Footsie". Daily Telegraph. 22 October 2000. Retrieved 13 March 2010. 
  4. ^ "Financial Technology: King of canary". Technology Marketing Corp. 13 October 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Chris Spillane (22 June 2011). "Canary Wharf Chairman Martin Jacomb Retires, CEO Iacobescu Takes Over". Bloomberg. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "Honours List: DBEs and CBEs". BBC News. 13 June 2003. Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  7. ^ "The British Museum – Board of Trustees" (PDF). British Museum. 5 July 2007. Retrieved 10 May 2009. 
  8. ^ "Trustees of the British Museum". Number 10. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "List of Vice Patrons". Royal British Society of Sculptors Website. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
  10. ^ "Top marks for George Iacobescu". Teach First. 19 June 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  11. ^ "Advisory Council". TheCityUK Website. 17 April 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2010. 
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60009. p. 1. 31 December 2011.
  13. ^ "Romanian-born Canary Wharf CEO George Iacobescu gets Knighthood in UK". Romania Business Insider. 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "First Romanian awarded Knight Bachelor by Queen Elisabeth II". Romanian Times Online. 2 January 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  15. ^

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