The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has named Stellantis UK boss Alison Jones as its new president.
Jones – who’s senior vice president and Stellantis country manager UK for Peugeot, Citroen, DS Automobiles, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Abarth, Jeep and Alfa Romeo – becomes the 82nd individual to take up the presidency.
The announcement was made at the SMMT’s 104th Annual Dinner, held in London last night (Nov 23).
Previously SMMT vice president, Jones officially takes office on January 1, 2022, replacing Dr. George Gillespie OBE, chairman, Horiba Mira, thereby becoming SMMT’s first female president.
Gillespie steps down at the end of 2021 after completing his three-year tenure, the normal two-year term having been extended amid the coronavirus pandemic ‘to enable him to provide continuity and guidance at a time of unprecedented challenge and change for the automotive industry’, said the organisation.
Jones said: ‘I am proud to be appointed the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) President in 2022.
‘It continues to be pivotal and exciting times for our industry as we drive technological developments and customer experiences, respond to regulatory changes, and adapt to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and post-Brexit world.
‘2021 has continued to be challenging and demonstrates why it is key we have a strong trade body such as SMMT to represent and drive progress for us all, advancing our interests with governments and organisations, and to ensure we have a positive impact for our members, industry, country economy and people in our communities.’
Gillespie said: ‘It has been a real honour to serve as [resident of SMMT and I’d like to thank Mike and the team for their fantastic support over the past three years.
He added: ‘As we look to the future, the infrastructure challenges are myriad, yet they also present an opportunity to transform the mobility sector and deliver long term economic growth for the UK.
‘I am confident the UK automotive sector will continue to lead from the front in the race to Net Zero.’
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘I’m delighted to welcome Alison to the role of SMMT president as its first female custodian.
‘Her many decades of automotive industry experience will be vital as the sector navigates a path to recovery from the pandemic while at the same time dealing with the rapid shift to electrification and global supply chain challenges.
‘The fact that she is the first female president after 120 years is significant but indicative of just how much more we need to do to improve the diversity of our sector.
‘I’d also like to thank George Gillespie for his extended tenure during the pandemic. Seldom has there been such a difficult time to be SMMT president and his expertise and support have been invaluable both to me and the entire SMMT team.’
Pictured: Dr. George Gillespie OBE and Alison Jones