Appointment of Amy Crisp comes after Avant’s customer satisfaction performance drops to three stars

Chesterfield-based housebuilder Avant has appointed a new group head of customer services – the latest of a string of executives to be poached from listed builder Persimmon.

Amy Crisp, formerly regional head of customer care at Persimmon, has been appointed to the role as part of Avant’s nationwide expansion plans undereway since the Elliott Advisers-backed reverse takeover of the firm by Yorkshire-based builder Berkeley de Vere.

Amy Crisp, Avant Homes' group head of customer services

Amy Crisp, Avant Homes’ new group head of customer services

Avant said that Crisp will lead the company’s customer services department across eight regional offices located in Scotland, the North-west, Yorkshire and the Midlands.

Since the Berkeley de Vere buyout, which was spearheaded by controversial former Persimmon chief executive Jeff Fairburn, Avant has hired a string of current and former Persimmon directors to help deliver its expansion plan.

These include Richard Stenhouse, the former Persimmon group strategy director who was appointed CFO of Avant last year, and Alan Hopwood, formerly Persimmon’s South Yorkshire MD, who was named group MD at Avant by Fairburn. Most recently, Avant appointed ex-Persimmon MD Ben Felton as its East Midlands MD.

Crisp will come to 600-strong Avant as it faces a challenge in battling falling customer satisfaction rates, with the latest data from the Home Builders Federation (HBF) showing the firm has fallen to a three-star rating in the most recent quarter, the only “major” builder to have seen customer satisfaction drop so far. Avant scored just 77.5% in the latest survey on a rolling 12-month basis.

Commenting on her appointment, Crisp said: “Joining Avant Homes at a time when the business is expanding at pace presents me with an exciting opportunity. I am looking forward to leading our customer services teams and further enhancing our customer-centric approach as we continue to scale.”

Avant has previously revealed plans to triple in size to sell more than 6,000 homes a year across the North and Midlands.

Avant’s announcement came as listed Scottish housebuilder Springfield said it had made its interim chief financial officer, Iain Logan, the permanent replacement for Michelle Motion, who resigned with immediate effect in March.

Innes Smith, chief executive of Springfield, said the board had been very pleased with Logan’s performance following his appointment as interim CFO and had unanimously decided to make his position permanent.

“Since joining Springfield over three years ago, Iain has made an important contribution to our finance function and, increasingly, across the business,” he said. “Accordingly, this appointment is in keeping with our long-held values of supporting the development of our people and providing them with the opportunity to grow.”