What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
My first job in the automotive industry was at MSX International as an aftersales zone manager responsible for workshop and bodyshop management. I grew up close to Turin, Italy, where the automotive industry has long been a very important part of the region’s economy. Also, my father was a true car lover who worked at one of the industry’s most important suppliers.
I would consider my current role as the head of the Lancia/Chrysler brand as my biggest professional achievement so far. One of my greatest personal achievements was competing in Italy’s second-highest women’s volleyball league as a semi-professional player.
Biggest failure and what it taught you?
This is not a failure per se -- it is better described as a mindset change. During the early part of my working life, I didn’t do enough to empower my team. Because of this, I ended up doing far too much myself and soon became overloaded.
What is your current challenge at work?
On the Lancia side, my biggest challenge is keeping the brand strong despite offering just one product in one market. On the Fiat side, my challenge is setting up the brand’s new Functional Range of products, ensuring that we have consistency in terms of product specifications, commercial policies and networks.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
How we are constantly challenged to anticipate and understand any trends that might come up so we can always find the best balance between performance and economic results.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Be patient, focus on the strategy and keep your eye on the bigger picture. Sometimes giving too much attention to the details or to isolated incidents can lead you to the wrong results. The most important fights are won at a distance. A good leader has to be able to empower others to control 100 percent of what you are responsible for and apply the 80-20 rule.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
It’s not enough to just be passionate about cars. You need to study and work in different areas of the business to develop a truly comprehensive understanding of the industry.
If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
I would closely examine the cost structure and efficiencies. Also, I would analyze the levels of competence and satisfaction among the employees. And why not increase the number of women in key roles? Let’s not forget many of our customers are women.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
Up until now, I have spent half of my career in product marketing and the other half in sales and commercial activities. My next step is likely to be in one of these two areas. What is crucial is that my next move provides me with additional experience and new challenges.
What do you do to relax?
I love reading and working out.
Lancia Ypsilon 10.
2013-present: Head of Lancia and head of Fiat Functional Range EMEA, FCA, Turin, Italy
2012-2013: Market director, Lancia Italy, Fiat Group Automobiles, Turin
2011-2012: Marketing director, Lancia Italy, FGA, Turin
2008-2011: Senior product manager, Fiat Freemont, Fiat Bravo, FGA, Turin
2010-2011: Media and advertising director Italy, Ford, Rome, Italy