What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
I am a car guy. I always wanted to work in the automotive sector and never considered working in any other industry. Since life can take you on some unexpected turns, I started my career as an account manager. It was a position that was held while I applied for a production manager's job.
What was your big break?
My big break came when I took over a general management position with 10 years of experience. This job came with profit and loss responsibilities and let me manage a multi-skilled team. It gave me the opportunity to learn the foundation of the business at an operational level in mainly sales and program management.
Your greatest achievement?
Personally, I’m very proud of my family. I have been with my wife for nearly 30 years and we have two daughters. When it comes to my work, I’m very happy that on some level I have contributed to helping people professionally when they were in the early stages of their careers. I’m amazed by the significant achievements they have made when faced with challenging situations. It brings me great joy seeing them in wonderful jobs today.
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
My biggest failure resulted from excessive dedication to my job. This led to a lack of realism from my side. This taught me to always keep an open mind when evaluating situations.
What is your current challenge at work?
My main challenge is to contribute individually and collectively within the team I lead toward Nexteer’s continued success. South America, which is part of our division, is facing economic difficulties that require quick adaptation to weather the storm.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
How global this industry is, not only from a customer and revenue perspective but also when it comes to the requirement to develop and manufacture systems with the same level of expertise all around the globe.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
If you have any doubt about a potential new employee don’t proceed with hiring the person. Keep searching for the right person even if there is pressure to fill the post immediately. I’m not sure if the person who gave me this advice early in my career still remembers doing so. However, I’m grateful to this day to this person and to all those who mentored, coached and guided me during my professional development.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
Do not take anything for granted and constantly be open to change.
If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
I would ask questions and listen to the people. I would try to know as much about my team as possible. That includes their personal and professional perspectives.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
It really shouldn’t be that different from the kind of job I have today because I’m still excited by the challenges and opportunities given to me. I hope no matter what job I have the future, I will still have a positive effect on the world around me. I want to keep advancing professionally, learning new things and generating value in a sustainable manner for all the stakeholders and the associates.
What do you do to relax?
I used to spend quite a bit of my free time restoring old cars. However, with the increased demands from my job and wanting to spend more time with family and friends, I have less time for this hobby. However, I still enjoy driving the old cars because it’s truly relaxing and enjoyable. When I really need to relax, I take a ride in a sporty car.
What is your pet peeve?
When there is a lack of ethics and when people don’t mean what they say.
What was your first car?
A 1939 Citroen Traction Avant, which I bought when I was 18.
I still have all the old Citroens that I restored, even though I can’t use all of them frequently. They are just part of me. My company car is a BMW X3, however, I mostly commute to work in Paris on my 650cc scooter because it helps me cope with the unpredictability of the traffic.
If you were a car, which one would you be?
I can’t think of a specific one. I do know that while I might not be the most appealing car at first, I’d be reliable under all conditions and be able to go anywhere. That’s why you would chose me for the long run.
2016-present: Vice president & COO EMEA & South America, Nexteer Automotive, Paris, France
2015-2016: Executive vice president for interior business group, NBHX, Heilsbronn, Germany
2012-2015: President North America, Faurecia Interior Systems, Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA
2008-2012: Vice president south Europe, Faurecia Interior Systems, Meru, France
2006-2008: Renault-Nissan division director, Faurecia Interior Systems, Meru, France