The founder and chief executive of Howdens Joinery Group, Matthew Ingle (pictured), has announced that he will retire from his position in the first half of 2018 after 22 years with the group.
Ingle will be succeeded by Andrew Livingston, the current CEO of Screwfix Direct, a division of Kingfisher plc.
Ingle said: “Selling kitchens trade-only to builders was a new concept in 1994 and I must thank Derek Hunt from MFI for having faith in us and for backing the idea. When Howdens first started trading a year later, with just 40 people and five kitchen ranges, I could not imagine the journey we would undertake. Thanks to our builder customers, we grew quickly, weathered both the problems with MFI in 2005 and the financial crisis, to emerge as a business which, in the past few years, has grown strongly and invested significantly in its future.
“Howdens is well set for the future, and I believe that now is the right time for me to step down and pass the baton on to Andrew. As a company, we have done well, are doing well and have great prospects for the future. I believe the company has the resources to look forward and to develop a new chapter in its development, and there are exciting choices for the new generation of leaders to make. I am very pleased that I will continue to be in touch with Howdens in the role of lifetime president.”
Livingston has been CEO of Screwfix since 2013, having previously held the roles of commercial and e-commerce director from 2009 to 2013. Before joining Screwfix, he was commercial director and chief operating officer of Wyevale Garden Centres plc and, prior to that, commercial director of kitchens and bathrooms at B&Q.
Commenting on his new appointment, Livingston said: “I am delighted to be joining Howdens. I have always admired the brand and I look forward to building on the excellent foundations to drive the business through its next phase of development and create further value for all its stakeholders.”
Ingle founded Howdens in 1995, with just 14 depots and achieved first-year sales of £1 million. In 2016, the company reported a turnover of more than £1.3 billion, profit before tax of £237m and more than 450,000 account holders. Howdens currently operates from 650 depots across the UK, and sees scope for up to 800.