Alison Jones will take on the role of Senior Vice President at SMMT, in news announced at the organisation's 104th Annual Dinner, Jones will take on the role at the start of 2022.
First Female President Looking Forward to the Challenge
Expressing her enthusiasm for the role, Jones said: I am proud to be appointed the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) President in 2022. It continues to be a pivotal and exciting time for our industry as we drive technological developments and customer experiences, respond to regulatory changes, and adapt to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and post-Brexit world.
Acknowledging the problems that 2021 has raised, Jones added that SMMT is a strong trade body that “represents and drives progress for us all. It advances our interests with governments and organisations, ensuring we have a positive impact for our members, industry, country economy and people in our communities.”
Having experience with the Volkswagen Group and currently working as the Senior Vice President of Stellantis UK since March 2021, Jones has clocked up many years of experience within the experience. She is also a Vice President for the Institute of Customer Service, in which she uses this role to represent the automotive sector.
Taking over from George Gillespie, who will complete his three-year tenure (which included an additional year, due to Covid-19), Gillespie said at the dinner. “It has been a real honour to serve as President. I’d like to thank Mike and the team for their fantastic support over the past three years. I’d like to welcome Alison, who I know will do a fantastic job, and her expertise and guidance will prove invaluable as we look to address our challenges.”
Gillespie also added that his tenure was a turbulent but undeniably positive period for the industry. He referenced the 115 zero-emission capable models that were released, helping change the perception of drivers to buy electric in greater numbers than previously.
He concluded by looking to the future and added, “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.”
Rounding off the evening, SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, spoke for everyone at the organisation when he thanked Gillespie for his steering of the ship. He also welcomed Jones, acknowledging that it was history-in-the-making with her being the first female of the 82 chosen presidents. He said, "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."