What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
Four generations of my family have worked as automotive engineers. It was a given that I would take the same path. I started as a Formula One engineer at Sauber and then moved to Mercedes-McLaren.
What was your big break?
I always wanted to be a Formula One engineer. I even wrote about this in an essay as an 11 year old. Achieving this childhood dream was my biggest personal and professional success.
Your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is my family. My wife and I really wanted to become parents. It wasn’t easy for us but we persevered and finally succeeded. Now we have two wonderful children.
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
Let’s call it the “Penguin Case.” A penguin is a bird, but can’t fly. Under water, however, it really excels. I needed to learn where I could excel.
What is your current challenge at work?
Driving and furthering an entrepreneurial mindset within the organization.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
I was really impressed with the industry’s enormous resilience during and after the 2009 global financial crisis as everyone was faced with low margins and high investment requirements.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
You will never know if you’re going to make it, until you try.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
No matter what niche you master, success in the automotive industry requires a holistic understanding of it.
If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
I would seek out the company’s most talented people and surround myself with them.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
I would like to be CEO of a leading company with an emphasis on future mobility.
What do you do to relax?
During the summer, I like to go biking. In the winter, I ski. However, I row all year long.
What is your pet peeve?
Processes for the sake of process – no matter the outcome.
What was your first car?
A VW Beetle. It was built the same year I was born.
I own a couple of cars but my most favorite is my 1991 Audi 100. I bought it while I was a university student using the initial money I made from my own startup company.
If you were a car, which one would you be?
I would be a Porsche 911 Turbo (993). That’s because this car has a strong character with a good heart and is pretty much capable of anything. It’s also reliable and high performing when you know how to push the right buttons.
2012-present: OEM business manager & head of global powertrain sales, Nissan, Zurich, Switzerland and Yokohama, Japan
2008-2012: Manager electric vehicle business development, Nissan Europe, Rolle, Switzerland
2006-2008: Marketing manager, Goodyear, Brussels, Belgium
2002-2005: Development engineer, Mercedes-McLaren F1 Team, Stuttgart, Germany
1999-2002: R&D engineer, Sauber F1 Team, Hinwil, Switzerland
1999: Development engineer, BMW, Munich, Germany