Alain Uyttenhoven graduated from the famous Institut Europeen d'Adminstration des Affaires (INSEAT) in Fontainebleu, France, where he studied mechanical engineering, engineering economics and management. He is a former sprinter on the Belgian national track team. Before joining the Adam Opel management board last November he worked at Nissan and Mercedes-Benz. Uyttenhoven's assignment is to refocus and reposition the Opel brand.
Brand director, Adam Opel AG.
Sales and marketing director, passenger cars, Mercedes-Benz.
French, English, German, Dutch.
Married, two sons ages 2 and 4.
Countries lived in:
Africa, Belgium, Germany.
First job in the car business:
Product planning, Nissan Europe.
Peugeot 104 ZS.
Most admired car?
What do you drive?
Opel Omega station wagon, Saab 9-3
What drives you?
Making a difference. Changing things.
Taking on challenges.
What is your greatest achievement?
Restructuring the Mercedes-Benz operation in Belgium at a time when we were trying to change the conservative image of the brand with new products such as the SLK, CLK and A-class.
What was the worst moment in your
The A-class rollover crisis.
Why did you leave Mercedes-Benz?
The challenge at Opel was bigger. Mercedes is at a high point in its history. It is comfortable. The job of repositioning Opel is greater.
How do you relax?
Playing with the children, reading, cooking, riding my mountain bike in the woods.
What books do you read?
Novels, philosophy, history - not business.
Variations on pasta and fish.
Dead Poets Society with Robin Williams in the starring role.
Do you work weekends?
Normally half a day.
What do you dislike about your job?
It keeps me away from other important things in life, such as family and friends.
Who do you admire in the auto business?
Bob Lutz. He has been successful in many different environments.
Who do you admire outside the auto business?
People who have changed something. Nelson Mandela, for example.
If you were to move to another industry, what would it be?
Probably the service industry. I like interacting with people. But I don't think I will change. Cars are a lot of fun.
How would you describe yourself to others?
Hard-working, impatient, quite good at
communicating, a generalist who likes new challenges.
What else are you good at?
Bringing a group of people together and getting them to think about something in a different way.
What is the next big thing in the auto business?
What frightens you?
Life is too short to be frightened.