Rumours about Stewart's future have been raging for months, reaching fever pitch in May when it emerged the under-fire boss had gone on 'extended leave' (AJ 05.05.05).
Seen as the driving force behind the much-troubled Scottish Parliament project, which he designed together with Enric Miralles, Stewart officially left the practice earlier this week amid allegations that he had clashed with directors over the direction of the company.
However RMJM has hit back, claiming the exodus is merely part of a natural work cycle and coincides with the completion of the mammoth Holyrood project. A spokeswoman said: 'In the nature of our business, staff levels fluctuate due to project commitments and resourcing. Often, at the end of a project such as the Scottish Parliament, staff move on.'
The practice, which employs nearly 600 around the world, has also moved to quash reports that it was becoming more commercially driven.
The spokeswoman added: 'At the heart of RMJM's success is the commitment and passion of our architects to designing to the highest standards.
'It is quite simple, the future of RMJM is to build on our design credentials.'
Meanwhile, the AJ understands there are no immediate plans to replace Stewart and that the UK managing director Tony Kettle will continue to head up the practice.