Mike Douglas, who has worked for Newcastle-based Space Group, formerly Waring and Netts, since 1972, is stepping down from his role as executive chairman to devote more time to his 88-acre alpaca farm at Fallowfield near Hexham, Northumberland.
From January, Mr Douglas will take on a consultancy position as non-executive chairman of the business to spend more time developing his alpaca and fleece business with wife Melanie, breeding a top-quality herd with world-class Australian bloodlines and genetics.
The ultra-fine and soft alpaca fleece produced by Fallowfield Alpacas is processed and turned into yarn, which is then made into products ranging from children's clothing to duvets and pillows.
Mr Douglas plans to launch an online retail business, selling high-end designer baby and children's clothes from alpaca, in autumn 2010.
He became a partner in 1985 and chairman of Space Group in 2007 when it was incorporated, and said: "The business is in good shape with a strong brand and culture, led by a talented and focused team, and I feel the time is now right for me to step back to allow more time to pursue other interests and spend more time with my wife (Melanie) and family.
"As well as the alpacas, I will also be supporting the running of our five-star luxury B&B, which has had a successful first year, and will hopefully find enough time between all this to play some tennis and catch a few salmon in the Tyne."
As an architect he worked on projects including Blyth Community Hospital, Newcastle Hospitals PFI and the recently completed Redcar Community Hospital and he helped oversee its rebrand to Space last year and the opening of its offices in Leeds and Manchester. Space Group chief executive Rob Charlton said: "Mike's contribution to the business over the last 37 years has been considerable and while we are sad that he is stepping back, we are thrilled he's agreed to stay on with us in a non-executive capacity, not least so we can keep up with what's going on at the farm with those alpacas."
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Last modified: Tuesday, 14 May 2013