Dr. George Gillespie OBE, executive vice president for HORIBA Automotive Test Systems (ATS) has been appointed as the 81st president of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), effective Jan. 1, 2019.
SMMT is one of the largest and most influential trade associations in the U.K. and represents more than 800 automotive companies. Widely regarded as the voice of the U.K. motor industry, SMMT supports the interests of the industry at home and abroad, promoting a united position to government, stakeholders and the media.
Previously holding the role as SMMT vice president and board member, Gillespie’s new appointment as president will see him lead the organization for the next two years. He replaces Tony Walker CBE DL, managing director, Toyota Motor Europe – London Office, who steps down at the end of this year.
Gillespie has more than 25 years international experience in the automotive and marine product development sectors, having been vice president of strategic product development at HORIBA Europe GmbH, and previously held senior roles with Ricardo plc and Schenck AG.
He joined MIRA as CEO in 2009 and led the turnaround in MIRA fortunes, growing the business internationally and leading its sale in 2015, to HORIBA Group. 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 at HORIBA as head of the Automotive Test Systems division, Gillespie is chair 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.
Commenting on his appointment, Gillespie said, “I am extremely honored to accept the appointment as president of the SMMT. 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 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,” Gillespie concluded.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, added, “The role of SMMT president has a long, prestigious history and we are pleased to welcome Dr. 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 SMMT, his leadership has been pivotal in ensuring the automotive industry voice is heard and he leaves the organization well-positioned to face the challenges ahead.”