In the past two years, Jean-Martin Folz has reshaped PSA/Peugeot-Citroen's organization for the better. But something is still missing.
PSA should hire more senior executives from outside the company. It is a good practice for any automaker, but especially for PSA.
PSA's top managers tend to be homegrown. They spend their entire careers at Peugeot or Citroen.
Only one top executive at PSA came from outside - Chairman Jean-Martin Folz himself. Folz needs to challenge the PSA culture by bringing in a few more talented outsiders.
In reorganizing the company, Folz had to reshuffle existing, long-time PSA managers to cover the new jobs.
He could have used some fresh faces for some of those jobs. A recent personnel shake-up involving the heads of purchasing, platforms and manufacturing demonstrated the importance of tapping into a wider talent pool. The right men weren't in the right jobs.
Renault not only hired Carlos Ghosn from Michelin in a well-documented case, but such other gifted leaders as Pierre-Alain de Smedt from Volkswagen and Philippe Mellier from Ford. Indeed, Renault's revival began with the hiring of design chief Patrick Le Quement from Volkswagen in 1987.
In fairness, PSA has hired stylists from outside, too. Citroen's new chief designer, Jean-Pierre Ploue, worked at Renault and Ford. But when the need arises, PSA should be ready to raid Volkswagen, Ford, General Motors and other competitors, as well as top suppliers and companies outside the industry. Everyone does it. Every automaker needs fresh thinking and this is a way to get it. In particular, PSA needs managers with global experience.
Sources say that Folz understands the need and is doing something about it. For one thing, he is looking at raising executive pay levels at PSA to help attract outsiders. It is the right move. Reaching outside the company for talent will help PSA remain strong and independent.