David Cox, 40
Chief operating officer, Motortrak
Family: Wife, Sarah; daughters, Zoe, 2, Amy, 8 months
Born: London, England
Languages: English, basic French and German
Education: Postgraduate diploma in marketing, Kingston Business School, England; bachelor’s degree in applied social science, Kingston University, England
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
My first role was at Jaguar working with the corporate events team. It was a great first job that involved talking to customers and driving the cars. I was also lucky enough to have a great first boss who did a lot to set my career on the right path.
My proudest personal achievement was running back-to-back marathons in Paris and Brighton. Professionally, it would be leading the global pricing team at Jaguar to harmonize vehicle and feature pricing across the euro zone. No one wanted to do it, no one knew how, and the pricing paper was so complex it tested the limits of Excel to compute and our board to comprehend.
Biggest failure and what it taught you?
Flunking all my A-levels at school. At the time it was a bitter blow, but the lessons never leave you. It's your job to succeed, no one else's, and people deserve second chances (in this case thanks to my parents).
What is your current challenge at work?
We are growing fast with new staff and offices around the world. The hard bit is keeping what made us successful at the heart of the company … that and learning to delegate.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
It gets more competitive by the day, but at the same time it's also full of great people.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Don't take things too seriously and trust yourself.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
Do it! It's a complex industry of paradoxes – cutting-edge technology mixed with infuriating legacy. It's very easy to stay in your functional area, but you will get further quicker if you take the time to understand the dynamics that drive the industry.
If you were CEO of a company what would you do first?
Make sure common company objectives are agreed with the stakeholders upfront. Then meet the staff and the customers and keep asking questions until you have a complete picture that drives your first 90-day plan.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
Anything that involves changing things to make them work better, ideally mixed in with a good helping of technology.
What do you do to relax?
Run until my head clears, spend time with the kids until I laugh, and ride my motorbike for the buzz.
A 1985 Volkswagen Golf in an attractive flat beige. I passed my driving test in it, crashed in it, and learned how to fix it.
Mercedes-Benz E350 convertible. I like open skies whatever the temperature.
2007-present: Chief operating officer, Motortrak, Surrey, England
2004-2007: Operations & commercial director, Autotorq, London, England
2003-2004: Client services director, Global Beach Automotive, London
2002-2003: Brand communications manager, X-Type, Jaguar, Coventry, England
2001-2002: Regional market manager southwest USA, Jaguar
1999-2001: Global pricing & revenue manager, Jaguar, Coventry
1995-1999: Various roles, Jaguar, Coventry