Sterling Furniture Group appoints new CEO

Family-owned home furnishing specialist Sterling Furniture Group has appointed a commercial retail and leadership expert to the role of CEO as it marks its 50th year in business.

In August, John Pattison will settle into the hot seat at the Tillicoultry-headquartered home furnishing group, which was first established in 1973. 

Originally from Glasgow, Mr Pattison, 53, has operated as a Board Director for more than 20 years, having most recently spent almost four years as Commercial Director at Sunderland-based sofa and furniture retailer ScS, where he launched the company’s aspirational Botanicals range, led the partnership with designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and initiated their new concept stores now being rolled out across the UK

His appointment follows an intensive and competitive recruitment process in which Sterling Furniture Group were supported by independent search specialists Carlyle Associates to assess a pool of highly qualified candidates for the new CEO role. 

Mr Pattison joins Sterling Furniture Group at a milestone moment in the company’s 50-year history, with transition to the Sterling Home brand ongoing across the group’s ten showrooms across Scotland and a new generation of founder George Knowles’ family stepping up to become Company Directors.

The company continues to trade well in tough conditions 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 to drive consumer traffic and purchase – an area in which data-driven Mr Pattison is highly skilled, having led the rebranding of the ScS website in 2020.

Lesley Graham, Sterling Deputy Managing Director, said: “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 Pattison said: “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 Ms Graham’s two sons, Murray and Euan and her nephew, George, who have been appointed as Company Directors.

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

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