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Ms Davies is currently managing director of the Mayfair contemporary art gallery Blain|Southern, a position she has held since the gallery was founded in 2010, and she will take up the LAPADA role on May 12.

She helped to set up Blain|Southern's London gallery, expanding the business to New York and Berlin. Prior to this she was European business director for Haunch of Venison and worked in the Impressionist and Modern art department at Christie's.

The appointment may come as a surprise to some in the trade who expected Mrs Percy-Davis's replacement to come from an antiques background, but Rebecca Davies apparently has a broad interest in the art and antiques market and studied for a Master's Degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art, specialising in 19th century French painting and art markets. She also has experience in communications, lobbying, finance and management.

Ms Davies will oversee every aspect of LAPADA, including presiding over the LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair in Berkeley Square in September, and will work closely with chairman Lord Chadlington.

Abilities and Experience

"She is undoubtedly the right person to lead the organisation through its next stage of development and I feel sure that the membership will warm to her," said Lord Chadlington. "Most importantly, I am confident that her broad range of abilities, particularly her experience in the digital space, will be of great benefit to the association and its members."

Ms Davies said: "I see this as an amazing opportunity to apply skills that I have gained through the contemporary art market to maximise interest and excitement in the art and antiques market. It is a rich scene with many facets, and too often overlooked by the public."

She also paid tribute to Mrs Percy-Davis, a popular figure in the trade who has spent a decade in the role, describing her as an inspiring role model: "She has modernised LAPADA, and I hope to build on her work with ambitious and creative plans for today's global market."

Mrs Percy-Davis decided to step down late last year largely because of family commitments and has played an active role in finding her successor, a task which has taken longer than planned as she originally intended to hand over the reins in March.

She will continue to maintain close links with the association in an as-yet undefined role and will be involved in LAPADA's 40th anniversary celebrations this year as well as the CINOA conference, due to take place in London at the end of June.