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Ole & Steen seeking new Group CEO, appoints Graham Hollinshead as UK MD

The bakery café chain says fresh impetus is needed to oversee its operations across Denmark, the UK and the US, with current Chief Commercial Officer Jesper Mark Dixen taking on interim leadership responsibilities

An Ole & Steen store in Clapham, London | Photo credit: Ole & Steen


Danish bakery café chain Ole & Steen is seeking a new Group CEO after Jason Cotta stepped down from the role. 

Cotta joined Ole & Steen in August 2019 following nine years at Costa Coffee, where he served in several senior roles including UK Operations Director, Managing Director of International EMEA and Group Managing Director. 

The move, which Ole & Steen said was a joint agreement between its board of directors and Cotta, presents a further managerial shakeup for the bakery café chain, which has made five new leadership appointments in 2023.  

Current Group Chief Commercial Officer Jesper Mark Dixen has taken on the role of Interim Group CEO as Ole & Steen pursues ‘a different profile’ of leadership to progress the company’s ‘strategic needs’. 

Alongside more than 100 outlets in Denmark, where it trades as Lagkagehuset, Ole & Steen operates 26 UK stores and five sites in New York, US. Despite the brand’s post-pandemic expansion efforts hindered its ‘operating results’, Ole & Steen achieved 20% sales growth in 2022 to achieve record annual revenues of DKK 1.3bn ($186m). 

In a further managerial change, Ole & Steen has appointed former Caravan Operations Director Graham Hollinshead as its new UK Managing Director. 

The position has been held in the interim by Operations Director Tim Selby since April 2023, when Lee Nixon stepped down from the role

“Since opening our first UK bakery in 2016, we have been focused on expanding to new communities in and around London. Now we are at a point where a seasoned leader like Graham is key to the continued success of the brand in the UK,” said Mark Dixen.   

In May 2023, former Pizza Express CEO David Campbell was appointed Chairman of the brand’s parent company Danish Bake Holding, with his ‘deep experience from the hospitality sector’ highlighted as a great asset for the brand’s future growth.  

Additionally, Ole & Steen appointed Stuart Cockburn, former Operations Director for Costa Coffee in China, as its new UK Operations Director in June 2023, and Beth Clarke, former Head of People Development at Wagamama, as its new Head of People the following month. 

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