Her priorities will be to review all activities and services and "work better" with other organisations.
Paris said the HTA's activities must change to better reflect members' needs and generate more cash. "There will be no sacred cows. Everything needs to be reviewed. It's a very difficult time for the economy and not an easy time for the members."
Paris will split her time, working two days a week at Garden & Leisure and the rest of the week at the HTA, where Growforth owner Stan Green takes the presidency.
On beating a candidate from outside the industry to the role, said Paris: "It's a complex industry and the HTA is unusual - it serves the whole supply chain of growers, retailers and suppliers. To employ someone who gets it quicker is a benefit."
Paris's appointment has been widely welcomed, with Garden Centre Association chairman Peter Burks, Garden Industry Manufacturers Association director Neil Gow, Squire's managing director Dennis Espley, Raglan Garden Centre owner Martin Davies and former HTA president Caroline Owen all applauding the HTA's appointment.
But Hayloft Plants owner Derek Jarman said: "I would have thought that the industry would have benefited with someone outside daily garden centre/nursery operation. Hopefully, Carol - whom I don't know - will prove me wrong."