Chief executives body Acevo has appointed Lesley-Anne Alexander, chief executive of the RNIB, as its chair.
The appointment wasannounced at Acevo's annual meeting in Westminster on 19 January. Alexander succeeds John Low, chiefexecutive of the Charities Aid Foundation.
She said she foresaw challenges for the sector as the economic downturn continued.
"These are difficult times when charities need to develop best practice more than ever," she said. "We're facing a double whammy of lower incomes and increased demand from beneficiaries. Unless leaders in the sector are able to share ideas clearly and rapidly, it could be damaged by the recession for a long time to come.
"Acevo's role in that exchange is vital, and it's now that this organisation needs to be at its strongest."
Alexander's previous jobs include director of operations for regeneration agency the Peabody Trust and various posts in local government, including director of housing at Enfield Council in north London.