The furniture industry’s largest furniture association has announced the appointment of a new chairman, Charles Vernon.

Charles, who has worked in the industry for over 38 years, will be taking the lead at the Furniture Industry Research Association. Charles takes over from Michael Powell, who is stepping down as chairman after five years with the association.

Michael says: “I have been honoured to lead the association and be part of the great work it delivers to the industry over the last five years, but I have decided that the time is right to step down. I believe that a strong association is representative of a strong industry and I am sure I am handing the leadership of the association over to the right person in Charles who I hope will enjoy his tenure as chairman as much as I have.”

Charles entered the furniture industry in 1977 when he joined Parker Knoll in its computer department. He moved from computing through production and sales responsibilities. In 1985 he was appointed MD of Nathan Furniture and chairman of Lock of London and joined the main board of Parker Knoll PLC.

In 1993 he moved on from Parker Knoll Group to run Gloster Furniture and, with his colleagues, took Gloster Furniture from being a small UK manufacturer of teak benches into a leading global brand of high quality outdoor furniture. Gloster manufactured in Asia and marketed its products in over 50 countries with its own companies on three continents. He retired from being group CEO of Gloster at the end of 2014.

Charles was Master of the Furniture Makers Company, the furnishing industry’s charity, in 2012/13 and now leads its education and training activities and initiatives. He has been a Liveryman since 1988.

Charles is also chairman of the Pathways Group that owns the Right to Dream Foundation, a West African football-based organisation founded by his son Tom, and the Danish Superliga football club Nordsjaelland FC.

Charles says: “Having been part of the Furniture Industry Research Association Council for some years now, I am really excited about becoming chairman and guiding the association forward. Michael will be a hard act to follow and I would like to thank him for his contribution to the success of the association over the last five years. I will be working with my fellow Council members and the team at FIRA to ensure that the association remains a potent force within the furniture industry.”

The Furniture Industry Research Association provides invaluable technical support to the entire furniture supply chain and funds projects for the benefit of the industry.