Pierre Authier, 42
Project design director, Citroen, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen
Family: Wife, Catherine; daughter, Louise, 8; son, Bastien, 5
Born: Paris, France
Languages: French, English, some German
Education: Post-graduate five-year degree (DEA) from Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Arts et Metiers, Paris, France; transportation design education, Art Center College of Design, Vevey, Switzerland
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
I started with Peugeot Design in 1997, right after graduating from university. I have always had a huge passion for car design. I have had the great chance to be directed by two legendary car guys: first, longtime Peugeot design director Gerard Welter, and then Jean-Pierre Ploue, the current head of design at PSA/Peugeot-Citroen. They are both brilliant directors and have freely shared their great knowledge of cars and automotive design with me.
The design of the Peugeot 208 and 2008. Above all, this was an incredible human adventure with the team. We take great pride in creating a new design identity for the brand. We succeeded, for example, in putting the very innovative i-Cockpit design into production, thanks to close collaboration with the product marketing and technical departments.
Biggest failure and what it taught you?
I learned from experience that it is important to take the time to communicate, even if this affects creation.
What is your current challenge at work?
To help define a new design strategy for Citroen as part of Alexandre Malval's team.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
The car is certainly the most complicated mass-manufactured product with a long-term development, but the human dimension is still essential for its success. Behind a successful product there are always passionate and competent women and men.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Respect your colleagues and model your business like you would a rugby team. Team spirit and focus achieve results.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
Be passionate about the auto industry; recognize that a car is a symbol of freedom and an expression of yourself. Don't join if you don't have a passion for cars.
If you were CEO of a company what would you do first?
Build and share a clear vision with the team, considering the DNA of the brand, its history and its ambition for the future. Ensure that everyone is fully convinced that we must propose distinctive, incomparable cars. Find those people who encourage innovation.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
When you are a passionate car design professional, your ultimate dream is to be responsible for the design of a brand.
What do you do to relax?
I play rugby with my friends, and enjoy time with my wife and two fantastic kids.
The Renault 5 given to me by my godmother.
Peugeot 208 GTi, the successful rebirth of the legendary 205 GTi.
2012-present: Project design director, Citroen, Paris, France
2008-2012: Project design director (Peugeot 208, 2008, EX1), Peugeot, Paris
2003-2008: Project chief designer for Peugeot 308, Peugeot, Paris
1999-2003: Assistant design manager for Peugeot 307, Peugeot, Paris
1997-1999: Exterior designer, Peugeot, Paris