John Mulcahy has been appointed chairman of Sydney-listed real estate group Mirvac, replacing James MacKenzie after the latter spent eight years in the position.

Mirvac issued a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange indicating that MacKenzie had opted to withdraw from the position at the company’s annual general meeting.

Mulcahy, who was appointed MacKenzie’s replacement via unanimous decision, is a veteran of the Australian real estate industry who has formerly occupied senior positions at Lend Lease, Suncorp and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, as well as held a seat on the Mirvac board since 2009.

“The board is confident that his experience as a public company director and his extensive knowledge of the property sector positions him well to lead the board of Mirvac going forward,” said Mirvac in a statement.

While Mirvac expressed its gratitude for MacKenzie’s “strong leadership” during his eight years as chair, his final year in the position has been a difficult one.

Last year MacKenzie came under fire from investors due to his abrupt replacement of managing director Nick Collishaw with Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, without providing a full explanation for his decision.

Some former board members have given scathing accounts of MacKenzie’s management style, saying he refused to heed the opinions of others while serving as chairman. The tax treatment of MacKenzie’s Mirvac-related expenses has also drawn adverse attention in just the past few weeks.

The reason given by MacKenzie himself for stepping down from the position is that he “felt the time was right,” and there has been no indication that issues related to fringe benefit taxes played a role in his departure.