Juan Jose Diaz Ruiz, Toyota's top sales and marketing executive in
Europe, is a talented artist-turned-art collector who also studied music seriously as a young man. Diaz Ruiz ultimately turned to economics and marketing at Lancaster University in England and has a master's degree in management and business studies from the college. His entire career has been spent in the auto industry - first with Ford, then with Seat and Audi. Diaz Ruiz joined Toyota Motor Europe in February 1998.
Executive vice president sales and marketing, Toyota Motor Europe Marketing and Engineering.
Executive director of marketing and international sales, Audi AG.
Fluent Spanish, French, German, English and Italian.
Married, two sons ages 21 and 18.
First job in the car business?
With Ford of Europe. I rose through the ranks to become head of sales and marketing and helped establish Ford Spain.
An old MG.
What cars are parked in your garage?
A Toyota Yaris (for my son), a Toyota Picnic (for my wife) and a Lexus GS300 for me.
What cars have you most admired?
The MG. I think it was very special.
What is your passion?
Life in every possible manifestation - work, art, culture, people, history.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Being able to fit into different business cultures - Spanish, German, American, Japanese.
How do you relax?
Being with my family, reading, listening to music, visiting art galleries and museums.
What are your hobbies?
Jogging, squash, skiing, painting, collecting art.
Where do you get your best ideas?
What item in your art collection do you most cherish?
An early drawing by (Spanish surrealist painter) Miró.
What's your favourite food?
Fidenua. (A type of paella with squid ink.)
Do you cook?
Yes. But only with the permission of my wife. She is mistress of the kitchen.
What do you read?
All sorts of things - history, art, philosophy. I've seven books waiting to be finished at the moment.
What company do you admire outside the auto business?
General Electric for its incredible management capacity.
What person do you admire outside the auto business?
People who can anticipate future trends impress me. For example, Bill Gates.
What people do you admire within the auto business?
Bob Lutz (former president of the old Chrysler Corp., now CEO of battery maker Exide) for his love of product. Ferdinand Piëch of VW for his vision, although I don't always agree with him. Giorgetto Giugiaro for his passion for shape and form.
Do you have any heroes?
Gandhi and John F. Kennedy.
How would you describe yourself to others?
Very impatient, a bit too determined, a bit too passionate about things.
What are you good at?
Developing people, establishing a clear vision and making it possible for people to apply it.
What would you change about yourself?
I'd like to be more patient and less driven by achieving objectives.
What is the next big thing in the auto business?
Harnessing new technology to make the lives of our customers easier and more comfortable.
How many hours a day do you work?
Between 12-14 hours, but that's nothing to be proud of.
What frightens you?
I am an optimist. I look forward. To be frightened, you have to look back.