Former Persimmon boss Jeff Fairburn returns to the housebuilding sector as chairman of Avant Homes following acquisition

Wakefield-based Avant Homes has been acquired in a move that sees former Persimmon Homes boss Jeff Fairburn become its chairman.

Private developer Berkeley DeVeer has partnered with funds advised by Elliott Advisors, an affiliate of global fund manager Elliott Investment Management, to acquire Avant.

Under its new ownership, Avant Homes will continue to be led by the existing management team. As previously announced, COO Mark Mitchell will become CEO on May 1, replacing

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Colin Lewis, who will become Non Executive Deputy Chairman.

Jeff Fairburn is to return as chairman of Avant

Mr Fairburn, currently CEO of Berkeley DeVeer, left Persimmon in 2018 after a high profile row over his salary which ran as high as £75m.

The York-based group at the time said the furore over his pay had become a “distraction” that was having a “negative impact on the reputation of the business and consequently on Jeff’s ability to continue in his role”.

He said: “Avant Homes is a fantastic business, with a strong proposition and a compelling track record of growth. It has a high quality management

team that has transformed the business, with an unrivalled focus on building design-led homes in the UK housing market’s fastest growing regions. We look forward to working with the team to further invest in the business and develop it into one of the UK’s leading housebuilders.”

Avant is under new management

Avant Homes operates in markets in the North of England and Scotland and currently has 60 live developments being delivered across five regions in the Midlands, Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland.

It currently delivers approximately 2,000 homes each year, has a turnover of circa £500m and employs around 780 people.

Berkeley DeVeer currently operates across Yorkshire and the North East of England.

Mark Mitchell, CEO Designate of Avant Homes, said: “The investment by Berkeley DeVeer and Elliott Advisors marks another exciting chapter for Avant Homes and is a clear endorsement of our growth potential. This is testament to the strength and ambition of our team who have helped make Avant the business it is today and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our previous owners for their support.

"We are delighted to have secured the backing of new owners who share our long-term vision for the Group. Their backing will provide us with additional means to push on with our growth

plans as we seek to double our revenues and triple our profits over the next five years.”