Sofa Brands International (SBI) has announced that Richard Sowter, chief executive of Parker Knoll, has decided to retire on 30th June after 38 years’ service to Derwent Upholstery and, more recently, Parker Knoll.

Richard has held a variety of posts in finance and general management, providing leadership and an extensive knowledge of the industry to all who have worked with him. He leaves a legacy of a growing business as Parker Knoll increases its distribution throughout the UK and overseas, and a strong management team to ensure future success.

Ian Oliver, presently chief executive of G Plan Upholstery, will become chief executive of G Plan and Parker Knoll from 1st July. The Parker Knoll executive management and G Plan executive management teams will report directly to Ian. Recruitment of a brand director for G Plan is under way, to strengthen the team in Melksham. Donna Bellingham is brand director for Parker Knoll.

"Ian has an excellent track record in developing G Plan in recent years, and is the ideal candidate to lead our mid-market brands to future growth and success," says SBI group CEO Scott Malvenan.