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A senior figure in Ted Jacob Engineering's Middle East operations has resigned from the company, citing a desire to develop his own business.

Dr Peyman Askari Nejad, who was director of structural engineering, left his post yesterday having been with the firm for one and-a-half years.

He was expected to play a key role in Ted Jacob's activities in the region following the official tie-up of its takeover of RMJM's engineering arm in Dubai two months ago

Dr Nejad told CW  that it was "not an easy decision" to leave, but said he wanted to refocus his efforts on his own design consultancy firm, along with other business partners.

"It's not new. It's almost seven years old. I was running it for two years then I stopped it because I joined the other companies. That's why it was on hold but I kept the license active and now again I want to do my own business."

Christian Magadia, who had been working as associate structural engineer for Ted Jacob when Dr Nejad was in place, told CW that he had taken over Dr Nejad's position in the interim, following a discussion with managing director of engineering Raymond Crane.

He said he did not envisage any problems with clients or ongoing projects as a result of Dr Nejad's departure.

"Most of our clients now, most of the projects that we are working with, are with our architectural partrner, which is RMJM. And most of the meetings are done with RMJM and our design manager. We have an in-house design manager in the office. He takes care of all the design co-ordination with clients, project managers and architects."

Magadia, who has been with Ted Jacob for six months, has previously worked as an associate for Ramboll Middle East.

Talks over a potential tie-up between Ted Jacob and RMJM's Dubai operation began 12 months ago, and the acquisition was agreed upon in principle in January.

However, the deal took longer to complete, as legal issues surrounding projects had to be tied up, plus San Francisco-based Ted Jacob sought its own operating licence for the UAE.

The combined business now has 200 staff with 120 based in Dubai. The agreement between the firms will also see them collaborating on projects, although not on an exclusive basis, for the next five years.

Ted Jacob Engineering has yet to make an official comment on Dr Nejad's resignation.