THE chief executive of the Small Woods Association (SWA) will stand down from his position at the end of 2023. 

Ian Baker has taken the decision to end his eight-year spell in the role because he believes now is the "right time to enable a fresh infusion of ideas and energy". 

An ecologist by training, Ian worked in range of public, private and voluntary sector roles, including Rural Economy Policy lead at Defra, before joining the SWA in 2015. 

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He said: “I have been extremely lucky to work in such a wonderful organisation. Small Woods Association has a committed and supportive board, a dedicated membership and an excellent, skilled staff team; all of which make the job of CEO much easier to do.

“Thanks to the work we have all done together, the organisation has progressed in so many ways since I joined in 2015. The experience of working with such a vibrant and inspiring team (staff, members and trustees) has been a really good one for me, it has made the job so much easier to do, and I know I have been incredibly lucky. I am sure you will be able to provide the same support to my successor." 

Ian has given a long notice period, with the intention that there should be a decent handover period with the new CEO. It is hoped that the December Board meeting can be the official handover point. This should also enable continuity of leadership during this important and challenging time.

The recruitment process is now led by the Board, and they have appointed Harris Hill to support them.

John Blessington, chair of Trustees, said: “The trustees wish to place it on record that Ian has been an excellent chief executive, moving the organisation forward in many ways and that Small Woods is now a body that is virtually unrecognisable from the one he joined eight years ago. We are grateful for the energy and enthusiasm Ian has always displayed and the professionalism he has brought to the role and the organisation."

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