Builders’ merchant also names new chair

Travis Perkins has announced the former group chief executive of Taylor Wimpey has been appointed as its new boss. 

Pete Redfern will take over as chief executive from the outgoing Nick Roberts on 16 September. 

Pete Redfern

Pete Redfern, new chief executive of Travis Perkins

In 14 years as the head of Taylor Wimpey, which came to an end in 2022, Redfern oversaw its transformation into one of the UK’s biggest housebuilders and its elevation to FTSE 100. 

Redfern has been on Travis Perkins’ board as a non-executive director for nine years. 

The appointment comes at a difficult time for the firm, which has been hit hard by the UK housebuilding downturn, as well as weaker demand for home improvements and repairs. Pre-tax profit last year slumped to £70m from £245m in 2022.

Jez Maiden, interim chair, said: “I am delighted that Pete Redfern will be joining Travis Perkins as CEO. Pete brings a combination of deep sector knowledge, operational delivery capability, commercial acumen and listed company expertise.  

“He is focused on operational rigour and driving a performance culture, prioritising customers, quality and people. He has demonstrated his skills in managing costs, margins and cash generation, complemented by a rigorous approach to capital allocation. 

“Pete joins at an important time for the Group as we focus on improving profitability and enhancing cash generation, as well as accelerating changes to our operating model to create a simpler, more efficient business.” 

Redfern said his intitial focus would be on implementing and adding to the actions already underway to improve operational execution and increase the focus on efficiency and cash generation, whilst also starting to develop the Group’s strategy for the years ahead. 

Travis Perkins also announced it has appointed Geoff Drabble as new non-executive director and chair designate. 

His appointment will take effect from 1 October and he will officially take up the chair role as soon as his capacity allows. 

Drabble is currently chair of Ferguson, a building materials distribution business listed on the New York and London Stock Exchanges, which primarily operates in North America.  

He is also currently chair of DS Smith Plc, an international packaging company, and previously a non-executive director at kitchen specialist Howden Joinery Group and chief executive of FTSE-listed equipment hire firm Ashtead Group.