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Influential industry players Julia Muir and Robert Forrester join IMI as newest Vice Presidents

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The Institute of the Motor industry (IMI) has appointed both Julia Muir Hon FIMI, founder of the Automotive 30% Club, and Robert Forrester, Chief Executive and co-founder of Vertu Motors plc as Vice Presidents.

They both bring extensive experience from across the automotive sector to contribute to the professional body’s mission to support every individual who works in it, as well as bolster the workforce with new and diverse talent.

Julia Muir has advocated for the benefits of stronger female representation in the automotive sector throughout her 30+ year career in automotive retailing, manufacturing and consulting. In 2016 Julia founded the Automotive 30% Club, a business network of 70+ automotive CEOs and MDs, of which the IMI is the Partner Sponsor and shares its aim to build high performing gender-balanced businesses by filling at least 30% of key leadership positions with diverse women by 2030. In her highly successful career, Julia received the IMI’s Sue Brownson Award in 2022 and was made an Honorary Fellow in 2023. She has also been named in the Financial Times and HERoes Top 50 Women in Business Global Champions of Diversity in 2017-2020 for her work through the Automotive 30% Club.

Julia Muir said:

“I’m very pleased to accept the role of VP of The IMI at such an exciting and challenging time for the industry. The automotive sector is experiencing unprecedented technological change and market disruption, and to steer a course through this radical transformation we need innovative high calibre leaders, top performing gender-balanced teams, and an inclusive culture that enables all people to fulfil their potential. People across the sector will need upskilling and reskilling, and recruits with new skills will need to be attracted. The IMI has a critical role to play in ensuring we have a robust and resilient 21st century automotive industry, through the right leadership, right culture and right skills. I look forward to working with Jim, Robert and all The IMI Vice Presidents on this vital mission.”

Robert Forrester and his team founded the Vertu Motors group in late 2006 through a cash shell float in AIM, which, just three years later, was awarded the ‘Best Use of AIM’ award at the 2009 AIM Awards. Vertu Motors plc is now one of the largest automotive retailer groups in the UK, employing over 7,000 colleagues, with a network of over 190 sales outlets across the country. Previous to his success with Vertu, as a chartered accountant with Arthur Anderson, Robert held the roles of Finance Director and Managing Director at Reg Vardy plc between 2001 and 2006.

Robert Forrester commented:

“I am proud to represent the British motor retail industry as a Vice President of the IMI. I have always been focused on how, as a Group and as a sector, we can deliver an exceptional experience for all customers. To achieve this, colleagues across the industry need to be thriving in their roles, and that is where the IMI delivers exceptional support. Recruitment and a skills shortage are critical issues that must be addressed to ensure the ongoing success of the sector, and I hope to be able to play a part in this new role.”

Professor Jim Saker, President of the IMI added:

“To meet the current and future needs of the automotive industry, we are actively growing our already impressive executive board. We are delighted to welcome Julia and Robert and look forward to working with them and learning from their vast experience to benefit the entire industry, including our colleagues at all levels, as well as motorists.”

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