Neil Martin starts new role on Monday

Sir Robert McAlpine chief executive Paul Hamer has left the business and been replaced by former Lendlease boss Neil Martin, Building can reveal.

Hamer joined in summer 2017 from consultant WYG, formerly White Young Green which is now owned by US firm Tetra Tech.

But Building understands he has been on gardening leave the past few weeks with Martin’s appointment officially confirmed to staff at 9am this morning. Martin will start his new job on Monday.

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Paul Hamer joined McAlpine from consultant White Young Green in summer 2017

McAlpine chair Ed McAlpine said: “Neil brings the essential skills and experience required to lead our business, with a clear focus on project selection and excellence in delivery.”

Martin ended a near three decades association at Lendlease last autumn after deciding to step down in the spring. His departure marked the end of an on-off link to a contractor that began in 1990 when it was known as Bovis.

Martin said: “Sir Robert McAlpine is one of the most respected businesses in the sector. Its reputation for building excellence and enviable 155-year history sets it apart from others. It is an absolute honour to become chief executive of a company that has worked on some of the country’s most iconic landmarks.

“I am excited to join the team and look forward to what the business can and will achieve over the coming years.”

>>> See also: In Business: Where McAlpine sees its future

Hamer goes less than a year after he finished carrying out a restructure of the business which saw several high-profile departures and a switch in focus to sectors rather than regions.

Questions will now turn to whether the rejig, completed last May and targeting more infrastructure work, will be torn up. At the time, Hamer said: “I am confident that this move to a sector-focused model with national centres of excellence sets us up for long term success.”

But several sources privately questioned the move. One rival said: “With infrastructure they are trying to jump on a boat that has largely sailed as there are already a plethora of main contractors who are there already. They might struggle to gain market position.”

Another added: “We don’t really hear from McAlpine anymore. I think they have lost their way a bit. It’s a positive statement from McAlpine to bring [Martin] in.”

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Neil Martin left Lendlease last year after nearly 30 years at the firm

Thanking Hamer for his time at the firm, Ed McAlpine said the company was on track to deliver “strong” half-year results with the firm winning work in “core sectors” which he said included its healthcare, commercial office, industrial, infrastructure, major and special projects businesses.

The rejig last spring saw 40 roles go and last November more redundancy consultation letters were sent to staff with up to 100 employees believed to be affected.

In the summer, McAlpine put the cost of its restructure at £8.4m and said delays and inflation on several big contracts meant the cost of finishing those jobs, thought to include its 21 Moorfields scheme in the City, was going to be up to £33m more than it expected.

It said the restructure was expected to result in annual savings in excess of £20m “over a 12-18 month implementation period, the significant majority being completed in the current financial year [which ended 31 October 2023]”.

Turnover during the year to October 2022, its most recently published results, was up 16% to £1.1bn with pre-tax profit edging up 2% to £9.3m.