Air Transport Association President Paul R. Ignatius will assume the group's newly created position of chairman of the board for one year before retiring on Dec. 31, 1985, the association said.

At its recent annual meeting, the association's board also appointed Executive Vice President Norman J. Philion, a 39-year veteran of the airline industry, to succeed Ignatius as president. The appointments are effective Jan. 1.

The Washington-based trade association represents most of the commercial airlines in the United States.

" The board's action and the achievements of the Ignatius-Philion team will assure effective continuity and a smooth transition of leadership as the airline industry prepares for the years following the phase-out of the Civil Aeronautics Board on Jan. 1, 1985," the ATA board said.

The CAB, the industry regulator for many years, was abolished by the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.

Ignatius, 64, was president of The Washington Post Co. from 1969 to 1971, and served as Secretary of the Navy from 1967 to 1969.

He has been the ATA's president since 1972 and has presided over the association during the airline industry's transition from a tightly regulated environment to an unregulated one. With Philion, he recently directed a joint ATA-Booz, Allen & Hamilton team studying measures to streamline the organization and adapt it for the post-CAB years.

At its meeting, the ATA board endorsed proposals made by the study to consolidate the association's eight departments into three principal operating units -- technical services, government affairs and industry services -- and three support offices -- public information, administration and the general counsel. TRADE

The American Forest Institute, a consumer affairs and educational arm of the forest products industry, has elected Laurence D. Wiseman its president. A former vice president of the public relations consulting firm of Yankelovich, Skelly and White, Wiseman joined AFI in 1981 and has served as its acting chief executive since June, when Robert O. Lehrman resigned to become president of the Savings Banks Association of New York State. AFI administers the American Tree Farm System, a voluntary effort of 52,000 farms aimed at improving forest management, and the American Forest Foundation, which supports educational work.

The Coalition of Service Industries Inc., which represents 26 major service corporations on foreign and economic policy matters that affect the service sector, has named Margaret L. Sims executive director. Sims served most recently as assistant director of national affairs for National Public Radio, and, from 1977 to 1982, was a staff member in the office of Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr. (R-Md.).

Ronald Terry, chairman and chief executive of First Tennessee National Corp., has been elected to serve as president of the Association of Reserve City Bankers, filling out the unexpired term of John B. M. Place, who resigned last month as chairman of Crocker National Corp. Terry, who had been elected vice president for the current year, will be up for reelection as president at the association's annual meeting in April, the group said. ARCB is a Washington-based association of 400 banking executives representing 160 major U.S. banking institutions.

At its annual board meeting last month, the Washington International Trade Association named new officers for the next year: Raymond Waldman, chairman of TransNational Inc. in Washington and a former assistant secretary of Commerce, president; J. K. Morrison III, director of international affairs for the American Consulting Engineers Council, president-elect; Ralph C. Oser, a Washington attorney, secretary; and Maureen E. Lord, of First American Bank, treasurer. The association also appointed Peggy Burkett as its first full-time director, and has established offices at the Investment Building, 1511 K St. NW. Founded in 1982, the organization represents a broad cross-section of private Washington firms, national associations, the federal government, local universities and the diplomatic community.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has promoted Robert J. Aagre, formerly a legislative counsel, to manager of the legislative action department of the congressional relations division. He will supervise all Chamber communications to Congress and will oversee various chamber publications, including: Congressional Action, Legislative Status Report, How They Voted, Congressional Handbook and the annual Congressional Issues book.

The National Association of Small Business Investment Companies has presented its Distinguished Service Award to Eileen M. Biermann for her "dedication, loyalty and service to the small business investment company industry," an association spokesman said. Biermann, currently director of conventions, membership and administration, said she will retire from NASBIC next year, but plans to remain active in the meeting planning and travel fields. NASBIC is the national trade association representing "small business investment companies," private financial institutions licensed by the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide venture capital, long-term loans and management assistance to growth companies.

The Fertilizer Institute has named Michael J. McAdams director of legislative affairs. He has been the principal legislative assistant for Rep. Ralph M. Hall (D-Tex.) for the last four years.