Alison Jones, Stellantis senior vice president and country manager UK, has been named as the 82nd president of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), becoming its first female president.
Jones, who also holds the crown of Autocar’s Great Women in the British Car Industry winner, replaces Horiba MIRA chairman George Gillespie, who has completed a three-year tenure in the role.
The appointment was announced at SMMT’s 104th annual dinner last night, at which this year’s Autocar’s Drivers of Changes winners were also announced and presented with trophies.
Jones said: “I'm proud to be appointed the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ 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's 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.”
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes added: “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's 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 would 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.”
Jones was appointed senior vice-president and Stellantis country manager UK for Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Citroën, DS, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep and Peugeot in March 2021. Previously, she was PSA Group managing director UK and senior vice-president from February 2019, having joined from the Volkswagen Group, where her most recent position was managing director of Volkswagen Passenger Cars.
During the speeches at the SMMT event, Hawes called on the government to take more action to improve the nation's EV infrastructure and help the UK automotive industry stay competitive.