What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
In 1994 I participated in a three-month student placement at Ford in Dunton, England, working on safety systems for minibuses. It showed me how carmakers marry design with engineering – and not always successfully! After graduating two years later Honeywell Turbo Technologies offered me a chance to tackle challenging assignments in three different plants, in three different countries within my first two years. I jumped at the opportunity.
Your greatest achievement?
Implementing and leading the product management organization and processes of Honeywell Turbo Technologies. This enabled Honeywell to secure orders from global automakers for more than $15 billion in lifetime revenue.
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
As account director for a major European automaker, I lost my first significant business pursuit. It made me realize that any problem a customer is facing could be significant in driving his choices, however small it may appear to me.
What is your current challenge at work?
Since January 2016, my responsibilities include Honeywell’s automotive software business, which offers advanced controls, diagnostics and cyber-security solutions for automakers’ passenger cars and commercial vehicles. It uses proven technology from Honeywell aerospace and process solutions. Consumer expectations and regulations are evolving rapidly, so automakers and suppliers need to collaborate even more closely to meet these new challenges.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
I am always surprised by the relentless pace of improvement in technology and productivity in the automotive industry. When I started my career 20 years ago, the cars and trucks in production were already highly engineered machines, but those vehicles had a fraction of the technology content and capability of even today’s entry-level vehicles.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I once asked a school friend how I should approach a running race. He told me, “Go out fast, speed up in the middle and sprint to the finish.” I think the same applies in business. Analysis is useful, but it does not replace action.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
Go for it! We need the best brains to solve some of the biggest challenges facing society today. They include figuring out how we can continue to offer people the affordable mobility they enjoy without damaging the local and global environments.
If you were CEO of a company what would you do first?
Go out and meet my customers and employees face to face, wherever they are in the world. I’m sure they could tell me most of what I would need to know to succeed.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
One day I would like to lead a team in a field of creative design, making something both highly beautiful and useful.
What do you do to relax?
I am very lucky to live between the Jura Mountains and the Alps. It’s perfect for skiing in the winter as well as walking and cycling in the summer. I also enjoy raising my three young, international children.
Volkswagen Sharan. It’s incredibly practical for a family of five that is always on the move. I also drive a Mini Cooper cabriolet, which offers fresh-air fun, with a hint of British design.
2012-present: Vice president marketing and product management, Honeywell Transportation Systems, Rolle, Switzerland
2008-2012: Account director, Honeywell Turbo Technologies, Rolle
2005-2008: Customer program management director, Honeywell Turbo Technologies, Rolle
2004-2005: Operations manager, India project, Honeywell Turbo Technologies, Morges, Switzerland and Pune, India
2001-2004: Plant manager, Honeywell Turbo Technologies, Manchester, England
1998-2001: European supply chain manager, Honeywell Turbo Technologies, Liverpool, England, and Epinal, France
1996-1998: European logistics manager, Honeywell Turbo Technologies, Epinal