Bensons for Beds has appointed Ian Shepherd as the new chair of the business.

Shepherd, who has acted as non-executive director for the retailer since September 2020, took on his new role last week.

He replaced Chris Howell, who led the business for the past 20 months, steering Bensons for Beds through multiple lockdowns.

The key leadership change comes as the retailer vies to continue its tranformation plans following its successes during the pandemic.

Shepherd previously served as chief operating officer of Odeon and chief executive of Game, and has also held several senior roles for Sky and Vodafone.

‘Lockdowns most challenging period of my career’

Howell said: “It’s an understatement to say these have been some of the most challenging times of my professional career, but working alongside my board colleagues, Mark Jackson and his leadership team, we’ve worked hard to protect the business and ensure it’s well placed to re-emerge from lockdown strongly.

“Having steered the business for the past 20 months through this period, the foundations are now in place for Bensons to successfully move forward. So, the time is right for me to move on and focus on my other commitments.”

Shepherd added: “Since joining the Bensons’ board last year, I’ve seen the potential this business has – great people, a strong brand and a British manufacturing capability that provides a distinctive customer proposition.

“And the strong trading we’ve seen since the end of lockdown has underscored how exciting that potential really is. I look forward to working with [owners] Alteri and guiding the leadership team as we realise that potential.”

Ian Shepard was among the expert judging panel for Retail Week’s annual Discovery report. Profiling the top 40 retail tech start-ups operating globally, the report highlights the effective retailer-start-up partnerships helping businesses to rebuild after the Covid crisis. Download your free copy here.