Nicola Goldsmith will head up the housebuilder's Wessex division after two years as acting MD.

Persimmon Homes has appointed Nicola Goldsmith as its first female managing director for the Wessex region.

Goldsmith, who joined the company in 1996 as sales director, had previously been acting managing director of the firm since January 2004.

She said: ""Having lived in the region for almost 20 years, I am extremely passionate about Persimmon's achievements in Wessex and am relishing the opportunity to build upon the company's ongoing success."

"I am delighted to be Persimmon Homes Wessex's first female managing director and believe my promotion is an accurate reflection of the housing industry's changing attitude towards female employees."

"The number of women in construction is rising year on year and I hope my success will encourage more young women to explore the wide range of careers available in what is an extremely challenging and constantly changing industry."

Goldsmith first joined the housing industry as group sales and marketing manager for Clifton Homes in 1987, before moving to Westbury Homes as sales director designate in 1990. She later established her own company, Practical Marketing Solutions, a consultancy, which provided PR and marketing solutions to property developers. Nicola joined Persimmon Homes Wessex in 1996.