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She will play an active part in finding her successor before handing over the reins in March, but will maintain close links with the association in an as-yet undefined role.

She will also be involved in LAPADA's 40th anniversary celebrations in 2014 and the CINOA conference, which is due to take place in London at the end of June.

Mrs Percy-Davis's resignation brings to an end a decade's tenure during which she has transformed not just her own role but that of the association itself.

Widely seen as one of the most effective - and popular - industry figures of recent years, she has spearheaded initiatives on everything from lobbying campaigns in Whitehall to developing partnerships with suppliers on and offline, ensuring the association is fit for purpose in dealing with the hi-tech business world of the 21st century.

More recently, her creation and development, in tandem with Mieka Sywak, of LAPADA's Berkeley Square fair and LAPADA Modern has helped widen the profile of the association and bring a more mainstream audience to supplement existing clients for exhibitors, as well as promoting the close bond between high-end art and antiques, the luxury goods market and aspirant lifestyles.

LAPADA chairman Lord Chadlington led the tributes to Mrs Percy-Davis, praising her "immense contribution to the vibrant development of the organisation" and acknowledging that she would be a "hard act to follow".

Confirming that she would personally oversee the transition to the new chief executive "to ensure a seamless hand-over", Mrs Percy Davis said: "After ten rewarding years at the helm of LAPADA, we have taken a family decision to relocate from central London to provide a different quality of life for our young children and it is inevitably with a heavy heart that I begin to hand over the reins."

Thanking those inside the association, as well as her wider contacts in the industry, for their help in making her time as chief executive "unique and memorable", she said she would launch a new business at a later date, but did not specify what that would entail.