The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has appointed Mrs Sarah Sillars OBE as its new chief executive officer.
Sillars' role will be to improve driving and riding skills and to campaign for legislation to improve road safety.
Sillars takes up her role on 5 February having overseen the commercialisation of Semta, the sector skills council for engineering and advanced manufacturing.
She said: “I am delighted to be back playing a significant role in the automotive sector. The IAM has played a unique part in lowering the numbers of people killed and injured on UK roads. I am very proud to be appointed their chief executive.”
“Many thousands of people have reason to be grateful to the IAM and its passionate volunteers for their advice, guidance and training over the decades.”
She continued: “With more than 1,700 deaths and 21,000 serious injuries a year on our roads there is still much work to be done.
“My intention is to ensure that we consolidate our experience and expertise, and then change up a gear – to further build on the excellent and vital research, training and lobbying activities that we carry out.
“We will change opinions, driving habits and legislation.”
The IAM has more than 90,000 members, all intent on improving their own motoring skills or driving through reform to improve road safety. It provides independently audited driver and rider training, including the advanced test.
IAM chairman Alistair Cheyne OBE said: “Sarah is the perfect person to drive the IAM into a new era. She has the skills, background and experience to help the IAM achieve its goal of becoming the best provider of post-licence driver and rider training in the UK.
“The challenge ahead is a large one, but I am now confident that we will see growth for an IAM that attracts more of the UK’s drivers and riders.”
Sillars has a long and illustrious career within the automotive sector, having been CEO and Executive Chair of the Institute of the Motoring Industry (IMI). They made her an Honorary Fellow and Vice President on her departure in 2012.
Awarded Industry Personality of the Year 2004 and Outstanding Achievement Award 2006 by automotive magazines AM and Motor Trader respectively, she was listed in the UK motor industry’s most influential top ten and the ‘most powerful’ female executive, according to the 2007 AM Power List.
In September 2008 Sillars was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award by Bodyshop Magazine in recognition of IMI’s work with ATA in the body repair sector.
She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2008 for services to skills training and the retail motor industry.
She has more than 25 years of experience within the motor and retail industries, having begun her career with Marks & Spencer, managing stores in England and later as Operations Director at automotive management consultancy Anne Gray Associates.