Benny Kelly leads tributes to grandson of Sir Robert McAlpine

Former Sir Robert McAlpine director Benny Kelly has led the tributes to industry giant Malcolm McAlpine, who has passed away aged 93.

Kelly - who worked alongside Malcolm for many years - said he had been an inspiration to him and everyone at McAlpine.

Malcolm (pictured) had been “very proud” of the company’s achievements on the London 2012 Olympic stadium, which completed just two months before his death, Kelly said.

Malcolm, grandson of founder Sir Robert McAlpine, was president of the family-run contractor and was involved in the strategic running of the business right up until his death.

Kelly added: “He was an amazing individual in terms of his clarity of mind right up to his death. I have vast respect for him and the rest of the family.

“The inspiration was the fact that he was so focused on business all around the world right up to his death. He was fiercely protective of the image of the company.”

Brendan Kerr, chief executive of Keltbray, said: “He was an icon in his own time. I had huge respect for him.”

He was described as a “great supporter” of the UK Contractors Group where he was a director and member of the executive committee.

Stephen Ratcliffe, director of the UK Contractors Group, said: “Malcolm was passionate about construction and a great advocate for us. He was an energetic member of UKCG and I benefitted enormously from his wise counsel and enormous experience. He will be sadly missed by his many friends at UKCG.”

Publicity shy, Malcolm’s most recent public intervention was his court appearance in 2004 defending the right of Sir Robert McAlpine to continue to use the McAlpine brand in the dispute with Alfred McAlpine, the firm set up by one of Sir Robert’s sons.

Malcolm, who joined the family firm at 18, took over the running of the company after the death of his cousin Edwin in 1990 and established himself as a towering figure in the industry.

In the eighties he and his family were society figures, hosting their Park Lane Christmas parties.

Six other McAlpines still hold positions in the company: David, Callum, Andrew, Edward, Hector and Gavin.