Sarah Sillars will become Institute of the Motor Industry chief executive from January, when Peter Creasey retires. Ms Sillars, previously operations director at automotive consultancy Anne Gray Associates, intends to spearhead a number of reforms.
"The Institute has entered a period of new growth and exciting opportunities which will complement our evolving industry and assist it in achieving key objectives," she said.
The IMI hopes to strengthen its role following record annual growth of more than 60% in its NVQ business and a £270,000 surplus for the past 12 months.
From January, membership applications will be accepted only from individuals who possess the appropriate qualifications. The IMI is closing its entry route for applications based on experience.