The British Property Federation has appointed Melanie Leech, director general of the Food and Drink Federation, as its new chief executive.
She will replace outgoing CEO Liz Peace, who is retiring next week after 12 years with organisation.
Ms Leech will join the BPF in early 2015, while Ms Peace will continue to work at the BPF on a part time basis until the end of the year.
Prior to leading the FDF, Ms Leech held senior positions in government, including director of communications at the Cabinet Office and head of broadcasting policy at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
She also served for three years as CEO of the Association of Police Authorities.
Bill Hughes, managing director of Legal & General Property and president of the BPF said Ms Leech has a proven track record of work both with and within government, as well as experience in policy-making and lobbying achievements.
“With a general election approaching, now, more than ever, we need to promote the benefits of real estate and be ready to tackle any challenges that a future government might present,” he added.
Ms Leech said: “As well as being a vital part of the economy in its own right, the property industry provides a platform for virtually all business activity in the UK and will have a huge role to play in meeting the aspirations of the next government to boost growth, deliver homes and unlock investment in our towns and cities.”