SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan is to be the next president of BEN, the motor and allied trades benevolent fund. The news follows the departure of Vincent Oddie of Castrol UK Ltd who has had to stand down following his promotion to a new role in the United States.

Christopher Macgowan will officially become BEN’s president at the AGM on Thursday 23 September 2004. However he was keen to take up the reins in preparation for the President’s Preview at The Sunday Times Motor Show Live on 25 May.

The President’s Preview will be hosted by current SMMT president Tod Evans. The event is set to raise funds for BEN and the Birmingham Children’s Hospital by opening the show to corporate guests on Press Day for the first time in the event’s history. Guests will pay £85 to see the exhibition before an anticipated 600,000 visitors, and have a chance to win a car.

Christopher Macgowan commented, “All of those who work in the motor industry have a duty and responsibility to support the fantastic work carried out by BEN. I am delighted to have been asked to be the next president and look forward to helping raise the profile of BEN among the industries to which it is dedicated, starting at this year’s motor show.”

Gerard Barclay, chief executive of BEN added, “Christopher is recognised as one of the most respected leaders among the industries we support and it is an honour for BEN to have someone of his standing to champion our cause. I look forward to working alongside Christopher during the term of his presidency and am confident of the positive contribution his involvement will bring to the future of BEN.”

BEN was founded in 1905. It provides practical help, support, advice and friendship to more than 15,750 men and women and their families both in their own homes, a day care centre in Coventry and in four residential centres throughout the UK.