The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has named Mike Benner, currently chief executive at the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), as its new managing director.

Benner’s appointment follows a strategic review of SIBA which will see it combine the management of the trade association and the commercial arm to create a unified organisation.

Under the new structure, approved by members at its AGM earlier this month, Benner will lead a SIBA Executive to run the organisation with the Board of Trustees continuing to provide oversight, direction and ultimate control of SIBA.

Current SIBA chief executive Julian Grocock, who chose not to apply for the new managing director role, continues as chief executive until Benner’s start on 16 June.

Benner has been chief executive at CAMRA for 10 years during which time the campaign group’s membership has doubled. He has been at the forefront of many campaigning successes including the scrapping of the hated beer duty escalator and planning reforms to benefit pubs.

SIBA chairman Guy Sheppard said: “I’m delighted that Mike is joining us to lead our expanded organisation. His political astuteness, proven campaigning ability and passion for great British beer make him uniquely well-placed to take SIBA forward.

“Our trade association and commercial arms have a shared goal of helping our members to thrive within a favourable political, social and trading environment for British beer. Aligning our activities into one unified structure puts us in a stronger position to realise this ambition.”

Sheppard thanked Grocock for raising SIBA’s profile “immeasurably” over his last seven years at the helm.

Benner said: “I’m very proud of CAMRA’s achievements and it’s been an honour to be part of such a great organisation. I leave in the knowledge that CAMRA is fit for purpose to continue its success.

“I am very excited to join SIBA at a time when there is such enormous opportunity for independent brewers and I look forward to working towards its vision to build the future of British beer.”

Colin Valentine, CAMRA national chairman said: “In his ten years as CAMRA’s chief executive, Mike has helped us achieve a great deal, both in our campaigns and in the growth of CAMRA. We are now in an excellent position to drive CAMRA forward. As Mike has decided to move on I’d like to thank him for his outstanding contribution and wish him the best of luck in his exciting new role.”