Mike Holling, the influential executive director of Craft Bakers’ Association (CBA), has stepped down from his role with the organisation.

He has been at the helm for three years, since the departure of its former chief executive, Gill Brooks-Lonican.

Holling, who informed the directors of the CBA of his decision at a board meeting last week, told British Baker: “I have taken the role as far as I can and I have enjoyed my time in it. I’m still a director of the board and will remain so for the next three years. But I have taken the decision to step down from the leadership role.”

During his time, Holling has overseen the rebranding of the organisation from its old moniker the National Association of Master Bakers (NAMB) and has sought to strengthen the CBA’s links with training colleges and young bakers. He has also aimed to forge greater links with other bakery organisations.

“I have been with the organisation since 1993 when I started on a regional basis,” added Holling. “And I have gone from there to heading it up and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.”

He joined the board of directors in 2004 and in 2007 served as the NAMB’s president. He is also head of retail for Birds of Derby, which operates 56 shops and has around 700 staff.

Holling continued: “The position was always an interim one, mainly to assist in the transition of the association. I have taken the association as far as possible, I am very pleased to have overseen the rebranding of the CBA, improved the association’s credibility within the craft Baking industry and introduced a more professional operation to serve the needs of our membership who are the most important part of this organisation.  

I am very pleased with the relationships we have built with our fellow bakery associations over the past three years, which has delivered training, campaigned on behalf of this great industry, and promoted the Craft Baker, who makes a vital contribution to the UK business community.            

“The time has now come to start a second phase to enhance the offering of the CBA, and I cannot give this the level of commitment or time that is required to achieve these objectivities.

 “I have enjoyed my three year tenure as executive director and there are many highlights, including our first trade exhibition hosted in Harrogate last year, along with sponsoring the Rising Star award at the BIA last year - this would have not been possible without the support of the team at Ware HQ, and the board directors of the Craft Bakers Association”

The CBA was formed in 1887 by Thomas Fletcher, who joined forces with bakers in the Birmingham area to share information. It currently has 600 members and represents some 2,000 shops.