The chief executive of consultant Schofield Lothian is to set up his own consultancy.

Keith Kirkwood, who is officially stepping down as chief executive from the end of May, is founding Alchemy Business Solutions, which will start trading in June.

Schofield, which has more than 200 professional staff and a turnover in excess of £14m, was bought by support services company Accord in 2002.

Kirkwood, who has already scaled down his involvement at Schofield, said his consultancy will not be directly competing with the firm.

He said: "Whereas Schofield concentrates on commercial project management and local authority-type work, I will be setting up a senior level consultancy, in particular mediation and negotiation work and management consultancy."

Kirkwood, who joined Schofield in 1985, said he was leaving because "it was time to move on and let others manage the business".

He announced a "structured withdrawal" from the firm, along with managing director Phil Crow, at the company's annual review in January.

Crow will step down at the end of June but will remain as part-time executive chairman.

Crow said his role from July would be advising his executive colleagues on operational issues and getting involved in the management of its dispute resolution team, SL Consulting.

He said: "The plan is to roll certain elements of Keith's and my current roles into one in the newly appointed managing director."