23 May 2024, 03:28
By Furniture News Jun 20, 2023

Scottish furniture group appoints new CEO

Scotland's Sterling Furniture Group has appointed John Pattison (ex-ScS) as its CEO, as it marks its 50th year in business. 

In August, John will take charge of the Tillicoultry-headquartered home furnishing group, which was established in 1973. 

Originally from Glasgow, John has operated as a board director for more than 20 years, having most recently spent almost four years as commercial director at ScS, where he launched the company’s Botanicals range, led the partnership with designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and initiated the new concept stores now being rolled out across the UK.

His appointment follows a recruitment process in which Sterling Furniture Group was supported by independent search specialist Carlyle Associates to assess a pool of candidates for the role. 

John joins Sterling at a milestone moment in the company’s history, with the transition to the Sterling Home brand ongoing across the group’s 10 showrooms in Scotland, and a new generation of founder George Knowles’ family stepping up to become company directors. The company continues to trade well, and has begun a large programme of investment in relaunching its flagship store at Tillicoultry under the Sterling Home brand. 

Sterling is also investing significantly in its digital function, an area in which John is highly skilled, having led the rebrand of the ScS website in 2020. 

Lesley Graham, Sterling's deputy MD, says: “After a rigorous recruitment process where we interviewed a breadth of excellent candidates, we feel we’ve found absolutely the right person for our new CEO role in John Pattison. A highly experienced retail leader, he worked his way up from the shop floor to boardroom roles at major national firms, including ScS, Londis and Booker Retail Partners. We were very impressed by the way he dedicated a significant amount of time getting to know the business during the recruitment process, visiting each of our stores in person multiple times. 

“Like us, John believes in the massive potential to make Sterling a recognised national brand once again and he’s brimming with exciting ideas to help us make that happen. We can’t wait for him to get started!” 

John comments: “I’m hugely privileged to be joining Sterling Furniture Group, particularly in such an important year, recognising 50 years of long and successful service to Scottish households and families. Over the past few years, the business has shown great courage and ambition in transforming into Sterling Home. I know that the aspiration of the family, following in the footsteps of our founder George Knowles, is to continue to inspire Scotland’s homes as we enter the next 50 years. I can’t wait to join the team.” 

In other developments at Sterling, members of the third generation of the family are now also working in the business, including Lesley Graham’s two sons, Murray and Euan, and her nephew, George, who have been appointed as company directors. 

Current MD Gordon Mearns will work closely with John during his initial months in the post, to ensure a smooth transition. Gordon is stepping down from Sterling after two decades at its helm, during which time he grew the company to include 600 staff working across 10 showrooms.

Pictured: John Pattison (centre) will head up Sterling's management team from August (photo by Julie Howden)

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