Chartered surveyor Doherty Baines is in negotiations with a rival over the release of a director whom it poached in March.

David O’Donovan, a partner at Mills & Wood, where he has worked for eight years, was recruited along with two of his team members to create a new industrial team at Doherty Baines.

However, while his team have taken up their new roles, O’Donovan has been ordered by Mills & Wood to work out his notice period, which does not end until September.

Nigel Doherty, founding partner of Doherty Baines, said: “We are trying to negotiate David’s early release and our wish would be to have him over here within the next four to six weeks and not have to wait until the end of September.”

Paul Crowson, senior partner at Mills & Wood, admitted that the situation was sensitive: “Things are a little prickly and in terms of the group’s relationship with David these are sensitive times.

“We are in active negotiations regarding his early release but at the end of the day there is a partnership agreement in place stating his notice period.”