Matt Barker is the latest hire for the business led by controversial former Persimmon boss Jeff Fairburn

Chesterfield-based housebuilder Avant has appointed Persimmon’s former regional director to lead its central England operations.

Matt Barker joined the firm from Persimmon Homes where he was director of the South Yorkshire region for only seven months.

Senior hire - Matt Barker has joined Avant Homes Central as director in charge

Matt Barker, director of Avant Homes Central

As director of Avant Homes Central, Barker has been hired to spearhead growth in South Yorkshire, Derbyshire, North Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

Barker has 26 years of experience in the sector, including an earlier two and a half year period at Persimmon as land and planning director.

He has more than eight years in total in various roles at Linden Homes, and completed an almost five-year stint as land director at Redrow Homes. 

Avant Homes regional chairman, Mark Cook, said: “Matt is a great hire for our Central region. He has the leadership experience, commercial acumen and professional capability to deliver our multi-tenure growth strategy.

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“We look forward to supporting him and the Central team as they expand throughout the region by delivering much needed quality new homes for everyone.”

Barker said in a statement that he is “already reviewing a number of new development opportunities in popular locations throughout our region.”

The Avant Homes Group currently operates across the north of England, the Midlands and Scotland from nine regional operating businesses, with more than 600 employees.

Barker’s appointment is the latest hire in a planned expansion by Avant, which is run by controversial former Persimmon boss Jeff Fairburn following a reverse takeover by Yorkshire builder Berkeley de Vere in 2021, backed by investment firm Elliott Advisers.

Avant has said it has plans to triple in size to build a business selling 6,000 homes per year, and in February opened a new region in the North west.

For the year ending 30 June 2023, it delivered 1,766 completions.