sir frank

Sir Frank Lampl, Ex-Bovis CEO, Dies

Sir Frank Lampl, an engineer who turned a modest U.K. building firm into the global giant Bovis Construction Group and was its chairman and CEO for 16 years, died on March 24 in London of complications related to his World War II and post-war imprisonment. He was 84.

Born in Czechoslovakia, Sir Frank survived two Nazi death camps and escaped Soviet oppression and forced labor in a Czech uranium mine after returning to his native land. He became managing director of a state-owned construction firm but immigrated to the United Kingdom in 1968 at age 42.

Sir Frank joined Bovis as a project manager and became head of its nascent international division in the mid-1970s. By the time Australia-based Lend Lease Corp. acquired Bovis in 1999, the company had extended its reach into over 20 countries. He took Bovis to the U.S. in the late 1980s, first buying New York City-based Lehrer McGovern Inc., then Schal Northeast Inc., New York City, and McDevitt & Street Inc., a Charlotte, N.C., contractor. He was Bovis Group chairman from 1989 until 2000, when he retired.

Sir Frank’s diffident manner and sometimes hesitant Czech accent belied his leadership talent, which earned him a knighthood in 1990 from Queen Elizabeth ll. “He took an old-style British construction company and, with his vision, made it an international powerhouse,” says Peter Lehrer, Lehrer-McGovern co-founder and former Bovis Group vice chairman.

“You have to like people,” Sir Frank once said. “A misanthrope cannot be a good leader.” Says a colleague, “His clinical health may have failed him, but mentally he was as sharp as a razor.”


Labor Leader Georgine Dies at 78

Robert A. Georgine, a former woodworker and ironworker helper who rose through union ranks to lead the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Dept. (BCTD) for more than 25 years but was later mired in a stock-trading scheme at a labor-owned insurance firm he also headed, died on March 29 in Silver Spring, Md. He was 78 and died of complications following a stroke, says BCTD.

Georgine was elected president of BCTD in 1974 at age 41 and “worked to transform” the umbrella group of 15 construction unions, says BCTD. He set up its first formal organizing program and was an “avid promoter” of project labor agreements, particularly on construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline. The group says he set up the Center to Protect Workers’ Rights and pushed for union-worker pension benefits and against non-union temporary labor.

According to BCTD, in 1985, Georgine was the first “constitutional department head” elected to the AFL-CIO executive council. However, later in his term, Georgine faced internal opposition as well as a federal lawsuit alleging union election intervention.

While the suit was unsuccessful, Georgine’s additional position as head of Washington, D.C.-based Union Labor Life Insurance Co., owned by union pension funds, was more problematic. Named chairman, president and CEO in 1990, he was forced out in 2003, along with other directors, in an insider trading scandal.

Georgine reached a $13-million settlement with the insurance firm in 2005 (ENR 11/21/2005 p. 13). Georgine, replaced at ULLICO by laborers’ union President Terry O’Sullivan, retained his insurer pension and $8.1 million in deferred compensation.