He is a former director at PA agency GPC Market Access, an ex-adviser to the Ministry of Defence and one-time political correspondence secretary to then PM Margaret Thatcher.
The association's director-general Judith Hackitt stepped down in April, leaving director of business and the environment Steve Elliott as acting D-G. The group is immersed in the Government's energy review as champion of the business sector that uses the most energy.
Responding to last week's Budget – and in particular the decision to increase the climate change levy from 2007 – Elliott said: 'UK chemical companies' ability to compete in international markets continues to be hampered by the horrific, tangled web of bureaucratic and inconsistent regulation.'
It is not known whether a replacement for Gardner will be sought. He was unavailable for comment, while the association did not return calls.