AJ Steer has stepped down as operations director at Gail’s Artisan Bakery, the Luke Johnson-backed group, to join hospitality consultancy firm the Gorgeous Group, as its new commercial director, MCA has learnt.

Steer joins Gail’s at the end of 2014 after two-and-a-half years as a regional director at Jamie’s Italian. He previously spent over two years as head of operations at Paramount Restaurants.

Last month, Gail’s appointed Polly Barnes, formerly of Byron and Ennismore, as its new operations director.

Gail’s is to further strengthen its presence in the regions and in London, after lining up sites in St Albans and One Tower Bridge.

The 32-strong group is set to open at 6 Market Place in the Hertfordshire town, whilst it has lined up a unit at the One Tower Bridge development for openings before the end of the year.

Earlier this year, the company opened its first regional sites in Oxford and Farnham, and is believed to be looking at opportunities in Cambridge and Guildford.

Bread Holdings, the parent company of Gail’s and wholesaler The Bread Factory, saw revenue increase by 41.5% to £63.8m in the year to 29 February 2016, driven by growth in both its retail and wholesale businesses.