Chief Executive and Chair appointed for £1 billion Advanced Propulsion Centre

The government and industry’s strategy for building greener and more efficient car engines took a major step forward today with the appointment of 2 key figures in the auto sector. Dr. Gerhard Schmidt and Tony Pixton – who both have extensive experience in the industry – have been appointed as Chair and Chief Executive of the newly formed Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

Part of the automotive industrial strategy, the APC will channel £1 billion of investment from government and industry over the next 10 years to speed up the development of greener technologies for engines. Widely backed across the sector, including supply chain companies, the centre is expected to secure up to 30,000 jobs currently linked to producing engines and create many more in the supply chain.

Dr. Gerhard Schmidt worked at BMW for 21 years in engine research and development and recently spent many years in the role of Chief Technical Officer at Ford. Tony Pixton brings 35 years of experience in the automotive industry to the role, with previous positions in product development at Ford and Volvo and most recently at Mazda in Japan.

Business Secretary and Co-Chair of the Automotive Council, Vince Cable said:

With the right leadership, the new Advanced Propulsion Centre – which this government has funded jointly with industry – will enable businesses to make and test low carbon technologies and position the UK as a leading innovator in engine design, with the potential to create 30,000 new private sector jobs. Tony Pixton and Gerhard Schmidt both have extensive experience in the car industry. Their expertise and knowledge of innovation in engine development will be invaluable to the APC.

Chair of the Automotive Council Professor Richard Parry-Jones, said:

The £1 billion UK Advanced Propulsion Centre was the headline announcement of our automotive industrial strategy. With its unprecedented scale and duration, it is a game changing addition to the innovation system to position the UK at the forefront of global vehicle developments. We aim to make the UK Advanced Propulsion Centre operational in a few months, for which we need talented, experienced and trusted leaders in place to make it happen. Tony and Gerhard are superb fits for the roles. I am delighted that they are so enthusiastic to become involved.

Chair of the APC Dr. Gerhard Schmidt said:

It is an honour to be allowed to contribute to the automotive industrial strategy of the Automotive Council under the leadership of Business Secretary Vince Cable and Professor Richard Parry-Jones. I am looking forward to working with CEO Tony Pixton to help establish the Advanced Propulsion Centre as a global centre of excellence for propulsion technologies. The first competition for APC projects opened on the 2 December 2013 with £75 million available for businesses to make and test new low carbon technologies. The competition closes on the 5 February 2014.

Chief Executive of the APC Tony Pixton said:

I am delighted to be taking up this exciting and challenging role and to be working with the Automotive Council and Dr. Gerhard Schmidt. I believe that my knowledge and experience of the global automotive industry will contribute to developing the Advanced Propulsion Centre into a world class resource, to position the UK as a leader in automotive propulsion technologies.