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SIMI elects first female president

SIMI elects first female president

SIMI, the Society of the Irish Motor Industry has elected (and not before time, one might say) its first female president in its 98-year history.

Gillian Fanning will be the new president of the Society, as elected at the AGM which was held virtually in respect of the lockdown conditions. Gillian is the Marketing Director of automotive distributor Serfac Limited, which supplies products to the aftermarket and motor factor sectors.

"Looking forward to her term"

Speaking at the virtual event, Gillian commented that she was "looking forward to her term as president, despite the significant challenges currently facing the Industry."

Ms Fanning remarked: "The past decade has been difficult for the Irish Motor Industry. Recovery from the 2008 financial crisis has not been in line with economic outlooks and while we had reason to be optimistic at the start of 2020, Covid-19 has since had a devastating impact on our industry.

"Important safety implications"

"Although thankfully some of us are back at work since 18th of May, with those members ensuring that they meet Covid-19 protocol guidelines for the protection of employees and customers, we need all elements of the industry operational again, particularly NCT testing. To this end, SIMI is pressing for the early re-opening of NCT Centres even at a reduced capacity to allow for health and safety protocol and is also making the case for the CVRT system to be fully operational as soon as possible. These are not just business issues but also have important road safety implications.

"The fact that servicing and particularly sales have been allowed to reopen with the critical July registration period approaching is welcomed and will help to generate revenue that will contribute to protecting the 45,000 employed throughout the country, she said. "However, the continuation of Government supports is vital for business and the industry will need additional measures going forward, including the extension of the temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme and the cancellation of commercial business rates until such a time as business activity returns to sufficient levels."

Extensive motor industry experience

Gillian has extensive motor industry experience; as well as her role at Serfac, she is, Chairperson of the SIMI Wholesalers' Committee and as a member of the Society's Management Board. Her career to-date has also included communications, marketing and change management roles in consultancy and with Guinness, Diageo and Bank of Ireland.

Ms Fanning thanked the members of the Society for allowing her the honour of being President and reminded members of the resilience of their Industry which she looks forward to serving in the coming year.

Published on May 26, 2020
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