12 Jul 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Hawes awarded OBE for services to auto industry

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes has been awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the automotive industry in the king’s birthday honours list.

Hawes (pictured) joined SMMT as CEO in 2013 after a number of years in the automotive sector in the UK and overseas.

He started his career in the road transport research sector in 1990 and joined SMMT from Bentley Motors, where he held director positions with responsibility for global communications, government affairs and corporate social responsibility.

Prior to that, he held senior government and corporate affairs positions at Toyota, both in the UK and Europe.

SMMT said on June 14 that Hawes has sought to ensure the country is one of the best places in the world for the automotive industry to do business.


Over more than a decade, he has led the industry through a period of technological, structural and geopolitical change, working tirelessly to ensure the UK sector’s global competitiveness and reputation are enhanced, SMMT said.

One of the biggest challenges facing the sector is the need to attract new talent. SMMT said Hawes was an influential advocate in the creation and work of Mission Automotive, which places ex-service personnel in jobs across the sector, signed SMMT to the Armed Forces Covenant and saw the organisation receive a gold award under the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme — the first trade association to be recognised in this way.

Hawes also plays a key role in the Automotive Council — a partnership formed in 2009 to foster collaboration between government and the automotive industry.

And as a main board member and chair of the UK Competitiveness and Business Environment working group, Hawes has driven work to enhance the UK’s attractiveness and delivered the UK’s first Automotive Diversity Charter, which counts every major UK-based automotive manufacturer as a signatory, SMMT said.

‘Talented team’

Hawes said he shared his honour “with a dedicated and talented team at SMMT and a UK industry which wants to be the best.

“The past few years have been anything but smooth, but the UK sector has proven itself resilient, adaptable and, as ever, incredibly innovative. This recognition reinforces the importance of the industry and SMMT itself.”

Mick Flanagan, SMMT president and Adient VP, said: “Mike has devoted his career to our sector, promoting our interests, defending us when necessary and always seeking to create the conditions that would see the UK industry compete at home and abroad.”

Photo: SMMT