Baroness Elizabeth Smith has stepped down as Chair of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, after 17 years in the position.

The position will be left vacant until the Society announces a replacement in October. Baroness Smith, who announced her intention to resign several months ago, cited a need for "some fresh thinking and for someone new to lead the board into the future" as the reason for her resignation. She also praised the festival for being a work of artistic collaboration "truly unique and far, far greater than the sum of its parts."

Since Baroness Smith took up the position in 1995, shortly after receiving her peerage, the Fringe festival changed immeasurably, with the number of ticket sales more than tripling, and an ever-growing roster of venues and performances chipping in to the world's biggest arts festival.

Stalwart fringe performer and society Vice-Chair Pip Utton paid tribute to Baroness Smith at the recent Fringe Society AGM, praising her "oversight and leadership" in navigating of "one of the most important transformations in the Fringe's history" and ensuring it continues to "best serve the participants, venues, audiences and other stakeholders who come to Edinburgh for this unique festival."