Freya Simms
Freya Simms is the new LAPADA chief executive (photo © Alice Lubbock)

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Freya Simms, former director of The Art & Antiques Fair Olympia and more recently, co-founder of art market communications agency Golden Squared Consulting, has been appointed chief executive of LAPADA.

The move follows the departure after three months of Patricia Stevenson, ex-publishing director of Tatler magazine, from the role.

Full time from June

Simms remains joint owner of Golden Squared and a non-executive director, but will step back from the day-to-day running of the agency when she starts at LAPADA full time from June 5. She is also a board member of PAIAM (Professional Advisors to the International Art Market).

LAPADA chairman Lord de Mauley said: “With a wealth of experience in the art, antiques and heritage sector, Freya is ideally placed to build upon the work of the association and the support it offers members. She will also oversee and develop the dedicated LAPADA team as it prepares for the Berkeley Square Fair, ensuring the fair’s enduring success.”

Simms told ATG she was “delighted and honoured to be chosen for the LAPADA role. I would love if my experience helps ensure LAPADA is in a strong place with challenges such as Brexit, the ivory ban and cultural property laws but also with opportunities of which dealers can take advantage.”

LAPADA fair management

She vowed to be “hands on” with the LAPADA fair, which is currently without a director after Clare Hinde, a former head of events at the Royal Horticultural Society, left after a short time in the role. Simms said she will “take a view on recruiting to manage the fair” after June.

A joint founder and owner of Golden Squared along with Diana Cawdell, Simms will continue to be involved in the agency's strategic direction as a non-executive director, attending monthly board meetings. Golden Squared's Lucy Barry has been promoted to become a full director alongside Cawdell.

Art market background

Simms’ career in the art market began as press officer at Christie’s. She has also worked in-house for both Bonhams and Sotheby’s and on the agency side of PR, Simms worked at Cawdell Douglas and at Focus PR, where she was associate director working for the Fine Art and Antiques Fair at Olympia, The British Luxury Council, The Affordable Art Fair, Clarion Retail and Ceramic Art London.

It was from there that she was recruited by her client Clarion in 2005 to be fair director, managing all aspects of the company's art and antiques fairs portfolio held at Olympia.