Gauthier Lerouge, 37
General manager & program director, Faurecia
Family:Wife, Veronique; sons, Martin 3, Arthur, 2
Born: Auchel, France
Languages: French, English, Spanish, some Slovak and German
Education: Master's degree in mechanical engineering, Institute Catholique D'Arts et Metiers (ICAM), Toulouse, France
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
I started to work as a process engineer right after I graduated from university.
What was your big break?
During an early stage in my career and after I had successfully completed a new project as an engineering leader, I made an unusual choice. I decided to become the night shift leader. I wanted to learn more about operations, the procedures on the shop floor as well as people management. This decision taught me a lot.
Your greatest achievement?
Whenever I have moved on to a new position I've worked to promote my successor from within my team. Being able to do that feels wonderful and is very rewarding.
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
During a project that was quite complex I wasn't able to keep my team together. This experience taught me to always listen carefully to my colleagues and to adapt my leadership style to different people and cultures when needed.
What is your current challenge at work?
Our current challenge is launching five new complete seat programs for a premium carmaker at a new greenfield plant. This needs to happen in less than six months for a very demanding customer. We also have to hire 700 people and deal with a very complex component supply base.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
I've been in this business for 16 years and I'm still always amazed at the seemingly endless innovation that is possible in this very competitive environment. By innovation I mean the ability to constantly create better products and to continuously optimize processes to make them more efficient.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
You will face many problematic situations in your career. Our duty as managers is to turn problems into opportunities. It's vital to never stop the continuous improvement process. That's true for all areas of this industry.
What do you do to relax?
I run in the mountains behind my house.
What is your pet peeve?
People spending more time talking about an issue than fixing it.
What was your first car?
A Peugeot 205.
A VW Passat.
If you were a car, which one would you be?
A Lamborghini Urus.
2015-present: General manager & program director, Faurecia Automotive Slovakia, Bratislava, Slovakia
2012-2015: Plant manager, Faurecia, Pamplona, Spain
2009-2011: Plant manager, Faurecia, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
2008-2009: Divisional launch manager, Faurecia, Troy, Michigan, USA
2005-2008: Operations manager, Faurecia, Mississauga, Canada
2002-2005: Program manufacturing leader, Faurecia, Mississauga
2001-2002: Process engineer, Faurecia, Coventry, England