Marshall welcomes Virgin man's appointment at Garden Centre Group

Garden Centre Group chief executive Nicholas Marshall has welcomed the appointment of former Virgin Group chief executive Stephen Murphy as chairman five months after Terra Firma bought the 129-centre chain in a £276m deal.

Murphy 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 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.

Marshall said: "I'm flattered he's decided to join us because he could have gone anywhere. He was CEO of Virgin so understands very well the importance of brands and because Virgin is probably one of Britain's best-known brands he's used to dealing with very entrepeneurial companies, because Virgin is. He had been chief financial officer for 15 years and then took on the CEO position and was the first CEO after Richard Branson, which is quite an accolade in itself."

Marshall said Murphy's role would be to support the management team and that ensure that shareholders' interests are best served, being the link between shareholders to ensure the company is properly governed.

Murphy said: "The Garden Centre Group is a brilliant business, and I am excited about working with the company and to support its continued grow."

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."

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