James Zheng named CEO and Paul De Santis named Co-Design Director at Goettsch Partners
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Chicago, USA – Global architecture firm Goettsch Partners (GP) announced that James Zheng, AIA, LEED AP, has been named CEO, and Paul De Santis, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, joins James Goettsch, FAIA, as co-design directors for the practice. As the primary partners in the firm, the three have worked closely together for more than 17 years. Goettsch will also continue to serve as chairman while Zheng now assumes the full CEO title as well as president.

Goettsch and Zheng joined the firm in 1992 and 1995 respectively. They have shared leadership and management responsibilities since 2013 and served as co-CEOs since 2018. Zheng’s steady leadership of the firm, coupled with his emphasis on design quality and technical expertise delivered with highly personal service will continue to be the foundation of the practice. Goettsch and De Santis have both been leading the designs of major projects in the U.S. and abroad for many years. As co-design directors, they will collaborate in guiding the overall architectural philosophy of the firm while ensuring that design excellence is paramount across all assignments.

In addition to day-to-day management of the firm, Zheng has focused on strategic growth. With the firm’s established specialties in office, hospitality and mixed-use projects, Zheng concentrated on the multifamily residential sector five years ago, hiring key principal leaders and support staff to develop a market focus that now includes more than 7,000 apartments and condominiums across 13 projects and five cities. Zheng has also had recent success in expanding the firm’s reach, with the opening of a new office in Denver last month. He will continue to focus on growing that office to further serve clients in the West.

“James has been leading the firm successfully for several years now,” said Goettsch. “He is more than capable of furthering the firm’s vision and guiding its future.”

De Santis recently completed the firm’s tallest building to-date, the 403-meter-tall Guangxi China Resources Tower in Nanning, China. His work in Asia focuses on several tall and supertall buildings, with key projects in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Wuhan. His current U.S. work includes premier office, hospitality, residential and mixed-use projects in Chicago, Denver and Nashville.

“Paul emerged as a design leader in the firm very soon after joining us in 2005,” noted Goettsch. “I am pleased to formally acknowledge the shared design leadership we have been practicing for many years.”

The new appointments recognize a planned leadership and management structure and continuing evolution of the firm, dating back to its start in 1938.