Reed Exhibitions has appointed Gareth Rapley as the new director of The London Book Fair. The first event he will manage will be next year's fair, set for April 18-20. Rapley has spend 13 years working in exhibitions and sales, primarily in the energy sector, most recently in the United Arab Emirates.

He replaces Andy Ventris, who left this past May after having been appointed as director in November 2020, succeeding Jacks Thomas. Thomas retired in 2020 following the cancellation of the fair due to Covid-19. The pandemic also affected Ventris' tenure, forcing Reed to forgo a live event in 2021 with virtual programming that June. This April, LBF held its first in-person show in three years, though participation from North American publishers was limited.

In a prepared statement, Rapley said he was "delighted to be joining The London Book Fair as its new director." He added: "I know how vital The London Book Fair is for the global publishing community and look forward to building relationships with exhibitors, attendees and stakeholders to ensure that the fair’s important role in the industry continues stronger than ever."

David Roche, chair of the LBF Advisory Board, said: “On behalf of the LBF Advisory Board I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Gareth Rapley, and look forward to working closely together as we prepare for the 2023 fair."