Consolidated Properties boss Don O’Rorke plots retirement plans

Consolidated Properties

Don O’Rorke, right, with his intended successor James MacGinley at the Consolidated Properties office. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen

Plans are in place for Brisbane development boss Don O’Rorke to step away from Consolidated Properties in the coming years.

Turning 60 earlier this year made Mr O’Rorke consider the future leadership of the business he founded more than 40 years ago.
“I’m not going to be around forever,” Mr O’Rorke said.

“One of the things we always talk about is evolution. The business has to constantly evolve. We can’t be a business that operates like it did 40 years ago. So we’re always looking over the horizon to see what the future might look like.”

Enter James MacGinley, who ­quietly joined the business in January 2020 as head of residential, just ahead of the pandemic turning the building and property industry on its head. The 38-year-old has not spent his career in property, instead coming from a finance background, focusing on the investment and mining sectors.

Mr MacGinley is currently leading the execution of the Consolidated Properties pipeline of around 2000 dwellings across its two latest projects – an integrated riverfront community at Yerrongpilly in Brisbane called YG and apartment development at 600 Coronation Drive at Toowong.

The exact timing of Mr O’Rorke’s exit is not set in stone but it is likely to be “sooner rather than later”.

The move is something he had been thinking of for some time, trialling several other possible company heads before finding the right fit. He is expected to transition into the role of chairman when the time comes and take a more hands-off role.

“At some point I will feel like all the pieces are in place to sort of make a reasonably simple transition,” Mr O’Rorke said.

“We don’t have a fixed time frame. Two to three years, I think, is a good estimate of it.”

Capitalising on the business’s structure and assets under control is currently top of his mind. Consolidated Properties’s retail arm has been rejuvenated in recent times, complementing the residential arm with a greater focus on integrated communities to align with customer wants.

Several options are being considered, including listing all or part of the business on the ASX or capitalisation through institutional investors.

“The challenge for us is to look the attractiveness of the business, and then look at our ability to create assets and say, what should our structure be moving forward,” Mr O’Rorke said. “We could simply stay as we are now, we could pursue a listing which might be an option or we could pursue the creation of multiple relationships with some overseas investors.”

Mr MacGinley added: “The business definitely won’t look the same in five years’ time and that won’t necessarily be because we’ve sort of changed anything specifically – it’s more that you just have to keep moving with the market. ”