SimonConsumer expert and renowned horticultural researcher, Dr Richard  Gianfrancesco has been appointed to the key role of Growing Media  Product Manager by William Sinclair Horticulture – maker of the  leading J. Arthur Bower’s, Growing Success, New Horizon and DeadFast  brands of growing media, fertilisers and sundries.

Previously a UK and global business manager for environmental  consultancy, Thomson Ecology, Dr Gianfrancesco is best known for his  earlier work for Which?, the consumer champion, where he spent 12  years (2001-2013) in senior positions including a five-year stint as  Head of Research for ‘Which? Gardening’ and most recently as Head of  Science, Statistics and Social Research across the entire Which?  organisation.

An ecology graduate from the University of Sheffield, he went on to  obtain a PhD in plant and soil science.

In his new role, Dr Gianfrancesco has responsibility for ensuring that  the company’s range of growing media is aligned with the needs of  consumers through constant product innovation and enhancement. He will  also work closely with Sinclair’s two highly experienced Technical  Managers, Paul Smith and Andrea Marshall, using the company’s new  trial grounds to develop and assess new formulations.

Welcoming him to the company’s advanced new Ellesmere Port growing  media production facility, Sinclair Marketing Director, Simon McArdle  said:

“Richard will be a great asset to us. He uniquely combines scientific  knowledge with many years of research into consumer gardening needs.  He will be instrumental in ensuring that we achieve our twin goals of  being the most consumer-focused gardening supplier and the supplier of  choice for high quality peat-free compost. This market will go peat- free and Sinclair will be its leader.”

Dr Gianfrancesco said:

“I am delighted to join such a long-established, reputable and  progressive British company, especially at this time when Sinclair has  already made a huge investment in growing media technology and is  pioneering a new era in peat reduction.”

A keen beekeeper and allotment gardener, Dr Gianfrancesco, 42, is  married with two children. He is the author of the practical gardening  book, ‘Grow Your Own Food’ (Apple Press).