Phillips takes over from Matt Atkinson, the managing director of EHS Brann, who was appointed the IPA's first chairman of its direct marketing committee in 2003.
Her appointment comes as the IPA changes the name of its DM division, previously known as the Direct Marketing Group, to reflect the changing nature of the discipline.
Phillips will concentrate on leading the IPA's focus on future methods of DM, including e-mail, online and interactive TV. She was chosen because of Proximity's strong integrated and interactive credentials, the IPA said.
Phillips will be supported by a committee comprising Mike Cornwell, a former chief executive of TBWA\GGT; Don Cowley, a partner at Langham Works; Paul Gage, the head of data planning at Carat; Tim Hipperson, the global data director at FCB London; Catherine Ince, the new-business director at Rapier; the managing director of Publicis Dialog, Simon Marshall; and Mark Runacus, a partner at Hicklin Slade & Partners.
Phillips said: "DM's rapid growth of the past five years has begun to slow as personal digital and alternative media emerge. My wish is to provide the 'brain fuel' to lead the industry and to develop the ideas and tools to change consumer behaviour in this media market. I also believe the metrics of an expanded media environment need to go beyond the simplistic return-on-investment corridor of traditional direct approaches."