His decision to step down on December 31 was announced today at an SMMT board of directors' meeting.
'It will be business as usual for the next seven months and I intend to leave at the top of my game,' commented Macgowan.
'However, the fact is I have reached a point in my life where I want to do a number of different things, not just one full-on job. Being chief executive of the SMMT is arguably the best job in the industry, but it is also all-consuming. So come January 1, 2008, I am going plural.'
SMMT president Graham Smith added, 'Christopher is widely known and respected throughout the industry. On behalf of the SMMT I would like to thank him for his significant contribution, not only to the industry, but also to the effectiveness and strength of the Society. We will miss him and he will not be an easy act to follow.'
Macgowan joined SMMT as chief executive in 1999, after leading the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF). During a rich automotive career he has worked for British Leyland, Massey Ferguson and, more recently, Ransomes plc.