David is a seasoned Finance and Operations Director with extensive experience across several sectors. His focus has always been value creation, either through strategic investment, resource efficiency or cost management.

David’s sector background includes Utilities, Commercial Property Development and Asset Management.

David’s practice brings together the related fields of CSR, Carbon Reduction and Strategic Cost Management. We help organisations reduce resource consumption, operating costs and carbon emissions by taking a stepwise approach to identifying high impact areas including investment in energy and infrastructure assets.

Relevant Property Experience

Unite Group – Finance Director Development

2003 – 2007

Unite Group is the UK’s leading provider of student accommodation, and today operates around 50,000 bed spaces around the UK. Listed in 2000, the business grew rapidly with the Development Division responsible for developing, constructing and commissioning some four thousand beds per year from 2003 to 2007. David led the team responsible for negotiating and managing development and investment finance facilities of £1bn and for project evaluation and approval processes. This leads to a deep understanding of the business model for UK PBSA including investment appraisal and operational cost base.

Unite Group – Director of Sustainable Development

2007 – 2009

  • David led the strategic response to the emerging low carbon landscape within property development and operations, subsequently embedding new practice and procedure within the organisation.
  • Developed a clearly-defined Carbon Baseline for Group;
  • Achieved recognition as a Low Carbon Leader as part of the Carbon Disclosure Project;
  • Developed a carbon management programme to monitor and improve emissions;
  • Implemented several workstreams to reduce the emissions per bed space by up to 20% over three years;
  • Led two “lean” workstreams to deliver direct cost savings of £2m across several projects;
  • Set up and chaired an Energy Risk Management Committee and captured tariff savings in excess of £2.5m through alternative procurement processes.
David McDonald

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