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Sir Frank Lampl died

(This article expired 26.03.2014.)

With great sadness, the Czech Embassy learned that one of the most eminent Czechs in the UK, Sir Frank (František) Lampl, died on Wednesday 23 March, aged 84.

Sir Frank was Life President of Bovis Lend Lease, the leading global construction management company that he created from the British building firm Bovis during a 15 year period as Chairman and CEO.

Born in 1926 in Brno he spent his teenage years as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Dachau Nazi concentration camps, and his first construction job was as a slave labourer on an underground BMW factory outside Munich. After World War II, Frank Lampl resumed his studies in Brno, but after the communist takeover in February 1948 he was denounced as a bourgeois undesirable and sentenced to imprisonment in the uranium mines of Jachymov. He was released in 1953.

Unwilling to be caught by a third oppressive regime when the Russian tanks rolled into Prague in 1968 Frank and his wife left with one suitcase to visit their son Thomas who was studying at Oxford University in England.

They never returned and at the age of 42 Sir Frank joined the British building firm Bovis in 1971 as a foreman bricklayer. In 1978 he became chief executive of Bovis International.

Bovis became a name synonymous with the Big Bang building boom of London in the 1980s and the company’s introduction of US construction management skills facilitated rapid completion of the most complicated projects. The biggest was Canary Wharf with the tallest building in Europe. In 1991 the company had won the Atlanta Olympic Games construction management contract and later EuroDisney outside Paris, as well as a huge shopping centre under Red Square in Moscow and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, then the tallest building in the world.

After the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in 1989, he renewed cooperation with his hometown of Brno. HRH Prince of Wales and Václav Havel appointed him a chairman of the Prague Heritage Fund which succesfully restored the Prague Castle gardens, Church of St Anna and statues on the Charles Bridge in Prague. He was an ex-chancellor of Kingston University, as well as a holder of numerous honorary degrees. He was knighted in 1990.

Sir Frank lived with his 2nd wife artist Wendy in Wiltshire.