Nick Collins, 38
Global vehicle line director – B segment, Ford of Europe
Family: Wife Rebecca; sons Joseph, 5, and Ben, 2
Born: Chelmsford, England
Languages: English, learning German
Education: MBA from Henley Management College, Henley, England; master’s degree in mechanical engineering, University of Nottingham, England
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
I started in project management on the Ford Fiesta launched in 1995. Having loved cars since I was a teenager I was thrilled by the prospect of developing the cars of the future.
My family is my biggest achievement while from a professional perspective I always think my greatest achievement is yet to come and that is part of what drives me.
Biggest failure and what it taught you?
Nearly failing my mock final high school exams taught me not to be complacent. There is no substitute to hard work.
What is your current challenge at work?
Profitably grow Ford's small car presence around the world – particularly in growing regions such as Asia Pacific, South America and Russia – while continuing to improve our presence in mature markets.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
The pace of development, particularly in safety and fuel economy, and the ingenuity of our team to overcome the challenges.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Empower and support your team and also be approachable. That is something former Ford Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth taught me.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
Go for it. I can't think of another industry where you can have such a global career and where you produce products that drive so many opinions and emotions.
If you were CEO of a company what would you do first?
Critically assess my products, because without outstanding products no business will survive. Next, create a vision and strategy for the future and then ensure you have the best people in empowered positions and you support and guide them toward that goal.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
Thirteen years ago when Ford still owned Aston Martin I put CEO of Aston Martin at the top of my career plan. That had to change when Ford sold Aston Martin. Today I'm working as hard as I can to be the best I can in my current role. My future role in Ford will be defined by how well I do that.
What do you do to relax?
I race 16-foot two-man sailing dinghies. It has been my passion since I was about 10 years old and I've competed twice in the world championships of the Fireball Class. The concentration required to race is the perfect relaxation.
A 1991 navy blue Ford Fiesta.
The new Ford Fiesta ST for me while my wife drives a Grand C-Max.
May 2012-present: Global vehicle line director – B segment, Cologne, Germany
2011-2012: Assistant vehicle line director global large cars, Cologne
2008-2010: Director – business associations, Dunton, England
2007: Product strategy special studies manager, Dunton
2006-2007: Product strategy and innovation manager, Dunton
2005: Product strategy manager – sub-B segment, Dunton
2002-2004: Chief program engineer – Fiesta ST, FordTeamRS, Dunton
2001-2002: Project manager Streetka program, Dunton
1999-2000: Manufacturing engineer, Dunton
1999: B-car project management analyst, Dunton
1993-1998: Ford undergraduate sponsored student, Dunton