British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) chief executive Sandra Loton-Jones has resigned her post after almost five years in the role.
Loton-Jones — who has been ill since before Christmas — will end her term with BALI at the end of this month.
The BALI board of directors, headed by national chairman Richard Gardiner — who is managing director of landscaping firm Norris & Gardiner — is now looking for a replacement.
The board will meet again on 11 February to discuss the way forward.
Gardiner told HW he had been talking to Loton-Jones about the move "for a while" and explained it was "purely down to personal circumstances".
He added: "Sandra joined us at a time when BALI lacked either clear direction or a sense of its place in the wider landscaping and horticulture industries.
"She has done an exemplary job in raising BALI's profile and building a strong organisation dedicated to supporting its members. We are grateful to have had her at the helm through such an important time in BALI's development and wish her continued success for the future. Our task now is to find the right person to take forward."
Loton-Jones added: "It has been a privilege to be at the helm of BALI for the past five years, serving its members and working with such a dedicated group of industry professionals — the board of directors.
"I believe together we have built a strong, internationally recognised trade association and that working in partnership with other organisations has given us a stronger voice.
"Raising standards in the industry will continue to be the priority of the board and the next chief executive, and I make no apology for making this the key aim of my time at BALI."
Immediate past chairman John Gillan said he had got to know Loton-Jones extremely well in their time working and travelling together.
"She brought many good strengths and characteristics to BALI," he said. "It is a genuine loss."
Subscribe to Horticulture Week for more news, more in-depth features and more technical and market info.