Garden Centre Group, owner of the Wyevale chain, has appointed former Virgin Group chief executive Stephen Murphy as chairman.

The retailer, which was purchased by private equity firm Terra Firma for £276m in April, said that Murphy brings “extensive board experience”.

He joined Virgin in 1994 as group finance director following a string of senior positions at FMCG companies such as Mars and Unilever. He eventually succeeded Sir Richard Branson as group chief executive of Virgin in 2005.

Murphy currently serves on several boards within the Virgin group of companies and remains a non-executive partner at corporate finance firm Ashcombe Advisors.

He is also non-executive chairman of Jumeriah Group, the hotels and property business based in Dubai, and The Learning Clinic, and sits on the board of The Business Growth Fund.

Terra Firma chairman Guy Hands said: “He is an exceptional leader with enormous experience in retail and across many other sectors. I am sure he will add great value to the Garden Centre Group.”