Marie-Christine Caubet, CEO, Renault France Automobiles Born: December 4, 1950, Salins-les-Bains, France
'JE SUIS LE PLUS grand garagiste de France.'
Marie-Christine Caubet, charming, small and blonde, is the biggest garage owner and car dealer in France. As general manager of Renault France Automobiles, Caubet manages 8,000 people who sold 180,000 cars through the subsidiary last year. Renault France Automobiles represents 77 Renault factory dealers that contribute to 30 percent of the carmaker's sales in France.
Caubet's job is to restructure the old network of Renault factory dealers. It isn't easy. The network, which used to be its own fiefdom, lost money for many years. Losses were more than FF200 million ($35 million) in 1996. 'We are expecting to get back into the black next year,' Caubet says cautiously.
Caubet is a Renault patriot. 'This is an extremely endearing company made up of many small villages,' she says. 'I have worked in finance, reporting, strategy and marketing. I have so far only lacked a foreign position.'
Sailing, walking, travelling, skiing, Caubet likes to move. She has a secret love for olive trees and she makes her own olive oil in her country house in Provence.
She met her husband - Jean-Francois Caubet, Renault's public relations manager - while a student. After graduating in 1973, she mulled over offers from Procter & Gamble and Renault. 'The one with Renault was great,' she recalls. Renault was already providing case studies for business schools in the early 1970s.
Today, she says Renault is an innovative marketer. 'For every new model we start from a blank page and create a new marketing concept. Other carmakers would rather reproduce what they did in the past.'