Vice president, global customer management and general manager, Korea & Japan,
Honeywell Transportation Systems
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
I've been interested in anything automotive since I was young. It has been a passion of mine. I wanted to be a Formula One driver and even did eight years of go-kart racing. I started my career as an automotive engineer at Thyssenkrupp Presta.
Company: Honeywell Transportation Systems
Location: Rolle, Switzerland
Family: Wife, Ingrid; daughter, Eva, 1; sons Sacha, 6, Leo, 11, and Yann, 13
Born: Lausanne, Switzerland
Nationality: Swiss and Italian
Languages: French, Italian, English, German
Education: Mechanical engineering degree, ETS Automotive, Biel, Switzerland; technical degree, CEPV Vevey, Switzerland; mechanical car certificate, Ecole technique - Ecole des metiers Lausanne, Switzerland
Your greatest achievement?
For more than 20 years, I have built and maintained great customer relationships with some of the best automotive companies in the world. That fills me with great pride, but it's also humbling. I've led teams filled with amazing people who consistently launch differentiated and cutting-edge technologies flawlessly. I led the creation of a global customer experience team three years ago to improve customer satisfaction. From the pre-development phase through launch we have teams standing by to provide support. Satisfaction has improved significantly. While there is still a lot to do, I'm very proud of the progress we've made.
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
Fortunately, I have not experienced anything I would consider a big failure so far. That doesn't mean I haven't experienced letdowns. Whenever a project or plan doesn't play out the way I expected, I take the time to learn from this. Those lessons, some big and some small, teach us what could have been avoided or what could have been done better. It's how we continue to improve.
What is your current challenge at work?
Honeywell Transportation Systems has begun separating from Honeywell International Inc. to become a stand-alone, independent and publicly traded company. That means there's a lot to do. It begins at the top leadership level and runs throughout the entire organization. We're doing it all without a single disruption to our customers, who will benefit greatly from our independence.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
I think the most surprising aspect is how fast development of new technologies can occur when they get attention and emphasis from the media, regulators and governments. A perfect example is the increased focus on powertrain electrification and the ramping up of autonomous cars.
August 2014-December 2016: Vice president, customer management worldwide, Honeywell Transportation Systems, Rolle
2012-2014: Customer management director, Honeywell turbo automotive division, Rolle
2007-2012: Worldwide account director for Daimler and BMW Group, Honeywell turbo automotive division, Rolle
2004-2007: Central business unit manager for automotive steering columns for Fiat, General Motors, TRW, FAW, ThyssenKrupp Presta, Rolle
2003-2004: Sales manager Europe, Middle East, Africa, South America, Asia for automotive steering columns for Fiat, GM, TRW, ThyssenKrupp Presta, Eschen Liechtenstein
2001-2003: Platform technical development engineer for automotive steering columns for Fiat, GM, TRW, ThyssenKrupp Presta, Eschen
1999-2001: Technical development engineer for automotive steering columns for Fiat, GM, TRW, ThyssenKrupp Presta, Eschen
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Don't wait until tomorrow to do what you can do today. I was also told to think big and never give up.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
Automotive is a very challenging environment. It can be demanding and stressful, but it is full of passion, so you will also need to bring your own passion. It requires you to be fully engaged, reliable, fast and persistent. I would also tell people interested in this industry to never give up.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
While I really like the job I'm doing because every day is full of new challenges, I believe my next natural step could be to take on a broader general management role in the organization.
What do you do to relax?
I like to jog and ski. I also really enjoy spending time with my wife and our four kids even though that's rarely relaxing.
What is your pet peeve?
My entire career revolves around building relationships and they are based on respect. It is at the heart of everything I do. That is why I really don't like it when people lack respect.
What was your first car?
I drove a 1979 Opel Kadett D. Unfortunately, it didn't survive my driving style for very long.
Today I drive an Audi Q7 because it has plenty of room to transport my big family.
If you were a car, which one would you be?
I would be a very reliable sports car with a nice noisy V-8 engine.