Mike Hawes cropMike Hawes crop


Royal recognition for SMMT CEO Mike Hawes as he is awarded OBE in King’s Birthday Honours

  • Mike Hawes has been awarded an OBE in this year’s King’s Birthday Honours
  • SMMT’s chief executive is recognised for services to the automotive industry
  • He says it reinforces importance of the industry and the SMMT

Time 7:34 am, June 15, 2024

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes has been awarded an OBE in this year’s King’s Birthday Honours.

He has been made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire – to give it its full name – for services to the automotive industry.

Hawes, who joined the trade body as CEO in 2013 after a number of years in the automotive sector in the UK and abroad, called it ‘a huge honour’ and one that he was sharing with the SMMT team and the industry.

He began his career in the road transport research sector in 1990, subsequently amassing decades of experience in communications and public affairs, most of which has been in the motor industry.

Hawes came to the SMMT from Bentley Motors, where he held director positions with responsibility for global communications, government affairs and corporate social responsibility.

Before that, he held senior government and corporate affairs positions at Toyota in the UK and Europe.

His top position at the SMMT sees Hawes charged with leading the UK automotive industry’s engagement with governments, stakeholders and the media internationally, and the SMMT said he had sought to ensure the country is one of the best in the world for the automotive industry to do business with.

The organisation said Hawes had led the industry through technological, structural and geopolitical changes, which had seen him ‘working tirelessly to ensure the UK sector’s global competitiveness and reputation are enhanced’.

It added: ‘Many of the issues that have beset the sector during his tenure have required consensus-building among the SMMT’s diverse membership – something he has done with tact and respect.

‘From the Brexit trade negotiations, in which he was relentless in advocating a deal for automotive, to Covid and the subsequent global supply chain shortages, the energy crisis and the unprecedented technological transformation to net zero, he has sought to safeguard jobs and businesses, promote the environmental benefits of new vehicle technology and help secure millions of pounds of inward investment.’

The SMMT said Hawes had been an influential advocate for the creation and work of Mission Automotive, which puts ex-service personnel in jobs across the sector, helping to address the need for new talent.

He signed the SMMT up to the Armed Forces Covenant and saw the organisation receive a Gold Award under the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme – the first trade association to be recognised in this way.

Hawes also plays a pivotal role in the Automotive Council – a unique partnership formed in 2009 to foster collaboration between the government and the automotive industry.

In addition, he is the chairman of the UK Competitiveness and Business Environment working group, which has seen him work to enhance the UK’s attraction and deliver the UK’s first Automotive Diversity Charter, which has every major UK-based automotive manufacturer as a signatory.

Hawes said: ‘Receiving such an award for services to the industry I love and have spent so much of my life championing is a huge honour.

‘It is one I share with a dedicated and talented team at the SMMT and a UK industry which wants to be the best.

‘The past few years have been anything but smooth, but the UK sector has proved itself resilient, adaptable and, as ever, incredibly innovative.

‘This recognition reinforces the importance of the industry and the SMMT itself, and I would like to thank everyone with whom I have worked for their unfailing commitment and support.’

SMMT president Mick Flanagan said: ‘It is fantastic to see Mike’s enormous contribution to the British automotive industry recognised in His Majesty’s Birthday Honours list.

‘Mike has devoted his career to our sector, promoting our interests, defending us when necessary and always seeking to create the conditions that would see the UK industry compete at home and abroad.

‘His leadership of the SMMT has seen some significant challenges – political, economic and, most importantly, once-in-a-century technological change.

‘He has managed them with calmness, diplomacy and unwavering good humour, and I am sure that everyone at the SMMT and in the wider industry would congratulate him on this much-merited recognition.’

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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