Sadie Chalkley, managing director of Tenbury Wells hardware and housewares retailer J G Banfield, will assume the BHF Group chain of office next year.
In doing so she will become the first woman president of the trade association.
Roger Lownsbrough of The Complete Cookshop in Bakewell, who was to have stepped up to the presidency next year, has instead stood aside, saying he needs to give his full attention to his business in difficult times.
Commenting on her appointment, Chalkley said: “I look upon this opportunity to serve the members as a great honour and I can assure members that I will give my all to the task, not because I’m a woman, but because I am an independent retailer and independent retailers deserve the best.”
BHF Group managing director Alan Hawkins added: “We’ve awaited the arrival of our first woman president for a very long time and I’m delighted that Sadie will be taking up this important leadership role.
“It’s sad to be losing Roger so close to his planned presidency,” he went on, “but I quite understand his reasons and must thank him for all the hard work he’s put in as vice president over the last three years.”