Director of Central European sales operations and managing director for Ford Distribution Poland, Ford Motor Co.
Last week in Warsaw, Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski appeared at a ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Zacheta, one of Poland's leading cultural institutions.
The lead sponsor of the event was the new Ford Mondeo, just being introduced into Poland.
Ford's sponsorship of such an important cultural event was something of a coup for Barbara Kux, Ford's director of Central European sales operations and managing director for Ford Distribution Poland.
Since Kux, 46, took over in central and eastern Europe in August 1999, she has been pushing hard to bring new ideas into Ford's sales operations. She has also been working to raise Ford's profile in her region, which stretches from Austria and Switzerland in the west to Ukraine and Romania in the east.
Poland is particularly important because it has the biggest potential for growth.
It has been an eventful year for Kux, a Swiss native and an industry outsider with previous experience at companies such as Nestle and ABB Power Ventures. The Polish car market, to which Kux devotes a large part of her time, has suffered a severe slump this year with sales falling more than 20 percent through the end of October.
During the past year, Kux has been on a mission to bring management skills and a selling culture to Poland's Ford dealerships. She has instituted a metric system under which there are five key measures the dealers have to work on to improve their performance.
Dealers have been trained in areas such as general management, working capital management, stock management, sales and marketing.
A Canadian-American training company was brought in to teach sales personnel how to find new customers. Every member of the sales force is now encouraged to make five new calls a day.
Kux also ran a test drive program for Focus in which 35,000 customers in four cities got a chance to drive Ford's lower-medium car.
Kux, who is single, believes women are just one of many groups that can bring more diversity into the auto business. She participated on Ford's behalf in a diversity event organized by the Swedish government this year. She has pushed for Ford to get involved in more community activities, including a breast cancer campaign in the Czech Republic. Ford also donated cars to flood victims in Switzerland.