Birmingham – May 5th 2020

Paul Heard has been appointed the new Chief Executive of SMMT Industry Forum, the consultancy and training providers for manufacturers, set up by the UK government, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and vehicle manufacturers, whose mission is to improve the competitiveness of UK manufacturers in the automotive, aerospace and other sectors.

Heard was formerly President of Automotive Tier 1 supplier Futaba UK and has worked for more than 20 years in management and consultancy roles at companies including EV Cargo, QT Consulting, Futaba subsidiaries and Tenneco Automotive. He has a track record of leading multi-million pound businesses within complex supply chain ecosystems and a wealth of experience delivering successful business transformation programmes across multiple sectors.

Paul Heard said, “I’m excited to be joining Industry Forum and look forward to building on the great work of outgoing CEO Dr Chris Owen and the team. Of course, the Coronavirus pandemic is testing British business at the moment and the need to call on external support to improve competitiveness is as strong as ever. I relish the challenge of helping the many world-class engineering-led industries we have in this country bounce back in the months and years ahead.”

Heard officially starts his new role on June 1st and will work closely with Dr Owen, who will remain at Industry Forum on a part time basis until August to ensure a seamless handover of leadership and transition for the company and its customers.

Based at the Birmingham Business Park, Industry Forum has more than 150 cross-sector industry specialists and is active in 30 countries. Over the past 20 years, it has delivered more than 400 competitiveness and productivity programmes and trained over 25,000 people.

Most recently, Industry Forum has been helping deliver the government-funded National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels (NMCL) package, with £16 million for automotive programmes and a further £10 million for aerospace, created to help manufacturers of all sizes and stages of development understand how competitive they currently are and develop the specific business capabilities they need to boost their performance. Its predecessor, the £13 million Long Term Automotive Supply Chain Competitiveness (LTASC) programme, leveraged £41 million in private investment over four years, creating and safeguarding some 3,200 jobs across the supply chain.