Marc Girard, 42
Head of Interior Design BMW Automobiles, BMW AG
Family: Wife, Florence; sons Adrien, 11, Arthur, 2; daughter Lou, 7
Born: Paris, France
Languages: French, English, German
Education: Bachelor’s degree in transportation design from Art Center College of Design, Vevey, Switzerland; degree in industrial design from ENSAAMA Olivier de Serres, Paris, France
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
My first real job was with BMW in 1993 as an exterior and interior designer. I started drawing cars as a 4 year old and since I was 7 I knew I wanted to make a living doing what I do today.
From a professional point of view it is the work we did on the BMW Vision ConnectedDrive and BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept cars. From a personal point of view it is my three kids.
Biggest failure and what it taught you?
Attending Art Center College of Design was too expensive for me to afford on my own so I needed financial help. An entrepreneur I knew said he would cover the expense, but he changed his mind two days before I was supposed to start classes. I knew I only had enough money for one out of the necessary four terms. This pushed me to seek out a scholarship, which I got from Ford. When I saw the entrepreneur years later he apologized for what he did but I thanked him because it pushed me to take a risk that has led to many rewards.
What is your current challenge at work?
Determining how people will interact with the interior of the car in 2018.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
The speed with which the industry recovered from the global economic downturn in 2008-2009 and that this industry is so influential in offering customers new technology.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
When I was an intern at Renault designer Jean-Francois Venet told me, 'There are lots of people doing great exterior designs but very few doing great interiors. If you really want your career to take off, focus on interior design.' He was right.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
Be patient because it often takes years to see the results of your hard work and understand that with design it is impossible to please everyone so you need to be firm in what you believe.
If you were CEO of a company what would you do first?
Tell my associates that the most import asset a company has is its people.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
I already have my dream job, but if I were to change it would be for a job where I could help shape the future. And it would have to have something to do with cars.
What do you do to relax?
Hiking in the desert. My family and I recently visited part of the Sahara Desert in Morocco and we want to visit the Sinai Desert in Egypt.
A 1990 silver metallic Renault Clio with a 1.1-liter gasoline engine. What I loved most about it was its five-hole wheels.
A brown metallic BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo with an oyster and black interior for me and a Mini Countryman for my wife.
2009-present: Head of interior design BMW Automobiles, Munich, Germany
2006-2009: Team leader of interior design, BMW Design, Munich,
2004-2006: Chief of interior design, Mini Design, Munich
2002-2004: Project manager of interior design for second-generation Mini and first-generation Mini Clubman, Mini Design, Munich,
2000-2002: Project manager interior design for BMW 1 series, BMW Design, Munich
1993-2000: Various design roles, BMW Technik, Munich