GEORGE Gillespie is to be the new president of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the industry body has announced.
The executive vice-president of automotive test systems business Horiba will take over from Tony Walker, the managing director of Toyota Motor Europe for its London office, on January 1 for the two-year tenure, making him the SMMT’s 81st president.
The announcement was made last night at the SMMT’s annual dinner at the Grosvenor House hotel in central London.
Gillespie has some 25 years’ international experience in the automotive and marine sectors, having previously held senior roles with Ricardo plc and Schenck AG. He joined Mira in 2009 as chief executive, expanding the business internationally and leading its sale in 2015 to Horiba in Japan. Today, Horiba Mira is one of the leading global providers of engineering, research, development and testing services to the automotive industry.
In addition to his work as head of the company’s automotive test systems division, Gillespie is chairman of the Intelligent Connected Vehicles Group within the Automotive Council, where he leads activities relating to intelligent and connected vehicles. He has a PhD from Queen’s University, Belfast, for research into low-emission engines and is a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.
‘I am extremely honoured to accept the appointment as president of the SMMT,’ he said.
‘It is a pivotal time in our industry to be taking on this role. Not only is the global automotive industry undergoing huge amounts of technological change, but we have the unique challenges of Brexit and improving air quality to address at the same time.
‘My priority will be to support the excellent team here at the SMMT, ensuring we continue to lead at the forefront of the industry on all of these challenges and opportunities.
‘I would like to congratulate Tony Walker on his successful tenure as president and thank him for his strong support as I take on this position.’
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘The role of SMMT president has a long, prestigious history and we are pleased to welcome George Gillespie to be its latest custodian. His wide range of industry knowledge will be vital as the sector experiences some of the greatest changes it has ever faced.
‘I’d like to thank outgoing president Tony Walker for his hard work and dedication to the SMMT. His leadership has been pivotal in ensuring the automotive industry voice is heard, and he leaves the organisation well positioned to face the challenges ahead.’