True, a European retail and consumer sector specialist investor, has appointed Ian Topping as chairman of online furniture retailer The Cotswold Company, which specialises in oak, pine and painted furniture, which it also sells through its showrooms in Stow-on-the-Wold, Chelmsford and Norwich.
Ian was previously chief executive of HMV, where he spent five years re-establishing profitability and delivering strong investor returns since it was acquired from administration by Hilco Capital.
Prior to this, he was chief executive of Steinhoff UK, following its acquisition of Relyon Group in 2001, where he was chief executive until 2012. Under him, Steinhoff UK grew to become the country’s largest integrated furniture manufacturing and retail group, comprising six retail businesses – Harveys, Benson for Beds, Sleepmasters, Bed Shed, Reid Furniture and Cargo.
Ian says: “The Cotswold Company has experienced a strong period of growth since it was acquired by True in 2016, expanding its product and category ranges and showroom footprint. I look forward to working closely with Kevin and the rest of the management team to continue to grow the brand and build on the industry leading customer proposition to attract an even wider customer base.”
Kevin Johnson, CEO of The Cotswold Company, adds: “Since True invested in 2016, we have been exceptionally pleased with the growth of the business and the retail and consumer network the partnership has delivered, including the introduction of Gordon and Chris Segal, the founders of Crate & Barrel, as Board advisors.
"Ian is another example of that and we are delighted to welcome him as chairman. Ian brings over 25 years of retail leadership experience to the board and we look forward to him contributing to the future success of the business.”
Matt Truman, CEO of True, states: “The Cotswold Company has enjoyed excellent growth over the past 18 months against the backdrop of a challenging market, further reinforcing the advantages of its D2C, direct sourced operating model.
"The business has opened two new retail showrooms and delivered revenue growth in excess of +20% this year in line with the rapid revenue growth of recent years. Ian’s appointment comes at a time when the business is positioned for ongoing digital growth as a D2C furniture retailer with over 90% of sales coming from online.
"We are delighted to have introduced Ian to the Cotswold Company via True’s Live Network, which consists of over 5000 of the retail and consumer industry’s leading senior executives, advisors and investors. We look forward to working alongside Ian, Kevin and the senior management team as The Cotswold Company continues its growth and disruption of the furniture sector.”