The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the trade association representing the UK automotive industry, has announced that its new CEO will be Michael Hawes who has extensive public, government and press relations experience at Toyota Europe, Bentley and Volkswagen.

Hawes will take up his new post early in autumn. 

The SMMT said that he will lead the executive team that will promote the interests and successes of the UK motor industry and help address the challenges of the current climate. The SMMT also said in a statement that he will "also ensure the SMMT delivers stronger representation and engagement with all its stakeholders and help accelerate growth of the two key subsidiary companies: SMMT Industry Forum Limited and Motor Codes Limited."

“I am very proud to be joining the SMMT as its new chief executive,” said Hawes. “The SMMT is a highly respected and influential trade association, valued by all stakeholders. My role will be to build on this reputation and grow the value and range of services provided to our members. There is a strong organisation in place and I look forward to working with SMMT employees, as well as our partners and European colleagues, as the industry continues to develop.”  

Tim Abbott, SMMT president, said: “I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Mike Hawes as SMMT’s new chief executive. Mike brings a tremendous amount of expertise, both in terms of automotive industry experience and the skills necessary for the job. He has built a strong personal reputation and is credited with establishing a number of strategic relationships which have benefited the automotive companies for which he has worked. He is also very familiar with SMMT and will maintain the momentum that has been established.

“I would also like to thank Mike Baunton for his support as interim chief executive of SMMT since the end of January,” added Abbott. “He has provided the leadership the organisation needed during this time and will continue his engagement with SMMT as chairman and non-executive director of SMMT Industry Forum.”

Hawes has over 20 years’ experience in policy and public affairs, the majority of which was in the motor industry. He joins SMMT from Bentley Motors where he held a number of PR, corporate and public affairs roles. He has also worked for both Toyota and, more recently, Bentley’s parent company, Volkswagen AG.