Mark Nicholson departs suddenly a fortnight after his remit was extended to cover Scotland and North-east

Mark Nicholson, the head of Bovis Lend Lease’s northern business, has left the company suddenly just two weeks after he was promoted. He had been running Bovis’ operations in Scotland and the North-east.

Nicholson cleared his desk last Monday, and left the company immediately. Sources close to the situation said both they and Nicholson had been shocked by his departure.

It is understood Nicholson did not reach terms on a settlement with Bovis before leaving.

He joined Bovis in May 2004 from Jarvis where he was a regional managing director for the northern construction business. He was appointed to Bovis’ UK board and was head of the North-west business, based in Manchester.

His promotion three weeks ago meant that the Bovis’ Scottish and Newcastle offices fell under his authority. He was in charge of 180 staff in the combined offices.

Nicholson reported directly to Jason Millett, managing director of Bovis Lend Lease in the UK.

A spokesperson for Bovis said: “Mark Nicholson has left to pursue a career elsewhere. We are still in discussion with him over the terms of his departure.”

Nobody has been appointed to replace Nicholson and it is understood that because of the speed of his departure he has not yet found alternative work.

Nicholson said: “I’ve got a number of opportunities but it is hard to comment in the current situation.”

Nicholson had been brought in to Scotland and the North-east to replace Harry Thorburn, who was based in Glasgow, but who had left that role to take on project auditing within the company.

Bovis’ Manchester office is a significant part of the business. It has delivered the Royal Bank of Scotland Data Centre in Edinburgh, Hexham Hospital in Halifax, West Yorkshire, the Bradford schools reorganisation programme, the Deep aquarium in Hull and the Trafford Centre shopping mall.

Two of the highest profile projects that Nicholson was personally responsible for are the £108m Manchester Civil Justice Centre PFI scheme, which is currently on site and scheduled to be completed in January 2007, and the revamp of Manchester’s Arndale Centre.