Former BMW New Zealand managing director Mark Gilbert is the new chair of the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council.
Gilbert (pictured), who retired last year after a 25-year career with the luxury German carmaker, said the role is a “natural traverse” from that of managing director.
“They’re both challenging – you’re involved in every part of the organisation, you’ve got to be able to motivate and advise all sorts of different people, and you’re responsible for delivering what you promise,” he said.
“I like to start with the end in mind. And I really like to set stretched targets – to go after an even better result.
“That’s the kind of challenge I like, particularly when the outcome you want is something as significant as better road safety for motorcyclists.”
Gilbert took up his two-year role on July 1. He is also a trustee for both the Product Stewardship Foundation and the Home of Cycling Charitable Trust, and chair of Tyrewise, a collaboration between the Ministry for the Environment and the tyre industry.
During his years with BMW he was President of the NZ Motor Industry Association and an executive member of the former NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Gilbert has had a life-long association with “wheels”, both two and four and motorised and pedal-powered.
He got his motorcycle licence in 1968 as a student in Timaru, riding a Suzuki 50cc step-through; he regularly rode and drove BMW’s finest, all while his eldest son Matthew raced as a professional cyclist in Europe and the United States.
These days Gilbert gets on two wheels to enjoy the freedom of the road. “Everyone who uses the roads has a responsibility for road safety – it doesn’t matter what wheels you’re on,” he says.
“We’re all using the same tarmac to get where we want to go. We need to learn to share it safely.”