The Cotswold Company announces Ian Topping, former HMV CEO, as chairman

True, Europe’s only retail and consumer sector specialist investor that operates across the entire investment vertical, has appointed Ian Topping as chairman of The Cotswold Company to work alongside the management team in driving the strategy and continued growth of the business. The Cotswold Company is a leading online furniture retailer, specialising in oak, pine and painted furniture, which it also sells through its showrooms in Stow-on-the-Wold, Chelmsford and Norwich.

Topping is currently chief executive of the UK’s largest specialist entertainment retailer, HMV, where he has spent five years re-establishing profitability and delivering strong investor returns since it was acquired from administration by Hilco Capital. Ian will be retiring from his full time role at HMV at the end of September 2018. Prior to HMV, he was chief executive of Steinhoff UK, following its acquisition of Relyon Group PLC in 2001, where he was chief executive until 2012. 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).

Topping: “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 The Cotswold Company, said: “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, True, said: “The Cotswold Company has enjoyed excellent growth over the past 18 months against the backdrop of a challenging market, further re-enforcing the advantages of its direct to consumer, 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 direct-to-consumer 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 5,000 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.”