Mike O’Donnell returned to contractor last May under major rejig carried out by former chief executive Paul Hamer

Sir Robert McAlpine’s boss of its commercial business is leaving the firm after less than a year in the role.

Mike O’Donnell was appointed managing director of the commercial sector last spring under a raft of changes introduced by then chief executive Paul Hamer.

But in a statement, the firm told Building: “Following a successful stint at Sir Robert McAlpine, Mike O’Donnell has taken the decision to leave the business to focus on other endeavours. Mike has been a hugely valued member of the team and we thank him for all his efforts since rejoining Sir Robert McAlpine and wish him well.”


Mike O’Donnell joined McAlpine in 2003 before leaving in 2019, returning last year as managing director of its commercial sector business

McAlpine said that Mark Taylor, who worked on McAlpine’s Battersea Power Station scheme and was appointed managing director of its major projects arm under Hamer’s rejig, would now head up a combined commercial and major projects team.

O’Donnell, who spent nearly 17 years at the business first time around and worked on the 2012 Olympic stadium and the Bloomberg building, returned to McAlpine last May after nearly four years away at the Madison Square Garden Company, the US firm behind the planned Sphere entertainment venue in east London.

But this job was pulled by the client earlier this year after it was called in by communities secretary Michael Gove last December.

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O’Donnell’s return was part of the major restructuring at McAlpine carried out last April and May which saw several directors go and the firm switch its focus to sectors rather than regions.

Explaining the move to focus on sectors, O’Donnell told McAlpine’s website last November: “Coming back and getting a national perspective on the way in which projects were performing allowed me to see how we could improve. This was part of the reasoning to go sectorised, you can offer your clients a more consistent quality and approach to how you build.”

But in February the architect of the move, Hamer, left the business and was replaced as chief executive by former Lendlease boss Neil Martin, immediately prompting questions as to whether the rejig would be torn up.