RUPERT Toovey is standing down as chairman of the RICS Art and Antiques faculty in order to train as a worker priest in the Church of England.
He was keen to stress to ATG that he will continue to run his family firm of auctioneers in Washington, West Sussex and confirmed his long-term commitment to the profession.
Mr Toovey follows in the footsteps of Johnathan Meyer, another previous chairman who has also become a man of the cloth.
He told ATG: "It has been a privilege to serve my profession as the RICS chairman and I look forward to continuing to raise people's awareness of the high standards and expertise within our profession especially to those considering a career in arts and antiques."
He announced his departure at the annual RICS conference, which was held in Sussex on October 12-14 and included a study day at Parham House near Storrington, a tour of Goodwood House near Chichester, and a gala dinner at the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester.
Under Mr Toovey's chairmanship, achievements included developments at Kingston University where an MA qualification can now be studied over one or two years, and progress with the planned new BA Honours degree which should accept its first students in September 2008.
The incoming RICS chairman is Chris Ewbank of Ewbanks Auctioneers in Surrey who was formerly chairman of the Society of Fine Art Auctioneers.