bernardStitfallSofa Brands International will have a new group finance director from 1st December following the retirement after nearly four decades service of Bernard Stitfall.

Mr Stitfall, pictured, decided earlier this year to step down from full-time employment, leaving in the past few weeks after 36 years with the group.

The past 23 of those years were as group finance director for both Christie-Tyler and—since its formation in 2005—Sofa Brands International (SBI), parent company of Duresta, Parker Knoll and G Plan.

He will remain on the main board as a non-executive director, while his replacement as group FD is Ciaran McMahon, who joins at the beginning of next month.

Mr McMahon has spent the past seven years as regional finance director for the UK, Ireland and South Africa at medical device manufacturer Biomet.

SBI CEO Scott Malvenan said: “We will all have our memories of when Bernard’s influence, cajoling and support have helped us improve performance, and remain or realign onto the right path over the years.

“I have benefited from Bernard’s skills, loyalty and good counsel on many occasions as he has played a key role as part of the senior management team in the development of the group in the past decade.”

Mr McMahon’s appointment is among a number of key hires this year, with the group’s marketing capability enhanced with the appointment of Julian Neal to its main board as digital marketing director last spring.

Scott Malvenan added: “I am delighted that Ciaran has agreed to join us. He proved to be the outstanding candidate from a very high quality list of senior, experienced candidates currently working in some of Britain’s finest companies.

“Julian has brought fabulous experience and skills to the group gained from his time at Sofa.com, Travelex and various other high profile marketing roles. Our brands are already benefitting from his leadership skills in the vital sphere of digital marketing.”

Team changes at Duresta include former Westbridge executive Jo Slaven joining as sales director and Will Cawson as design manager.

Mr Cawson joined from a similar post at the Ashley Manor group, which has subsequently hired Parker Knoll design manager Mike Wyatt as design and development manager. Since then, Simon Wade has left G Plan, with Sofa Brands currently recruiting for a design director for both G Plan, and for the newly created post of group IT director.

The group has also moved its head office from South Wales to Melksham, where G Plan Upholstery is based.