Niclas Pfueller, 40
General manager, Brose
Family: Partner, Tereza; sons, Elias 1, Joshua 3
Born: Northeim, Germany
Languages: German, English, Czech
Education: Master's degree in business administration, Private University of Applied Sciences, Vechta, Germany
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
I started as an apprentice at a German automotive supplier and soon after continued my career as a plant controller. Both positions gave me the opportunity to learn different facets of the company. My father worked as a car mechanic and customer service manager at a car dealership for more than 45 years. Cars, their technology and vehicle events were part of my childhood, therefore I feel that I am a car guy.
Your greatest achievement?
I was able to help my former company, Dura, restructure its European operations to allow the U.S. main office to recover from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Another highlight was helping Brose develop one of the biggest supplier sites in Eastern Europe with 3,500 employees. We have received several honors for our work at the plant, including the Czech Republic's national award for corporate social responsibility in 2015 and being named the country's top employer in 2018. I have also empowered and mentored more than 30 new leaders who are successfully working in various functions and multiple companies. All of these accomplishments make me proud.
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
During a time of rapid changes in the employment market I saw the signs too late and wasn't prepared. Since then, I have become better at recognizing the early indicators of change so that I can successfully implement measures to ensure we have a strong and stable work force and stay ahead of competition.
What is your current challenge at work?
In this challenging market place, my team and I try to adapt quickly and pro-actively. That way we can maintain a stable, high-skilled work force and achieve top results.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
It is so global, dynamic and fast. I love to work in this environment and master its challenges.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Make decisions. Act entrepreneurial. Be a leader.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
Be open and ready for rapid changes. Adapt to new realities. Never stop learning about the automotive industry, cars and technologies so that you can keep challenging your team.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
I want to be able to lead a bigger area or a division in a visionary and entrepreneurial way. I want to contribute by questioning existing business models and offering out-of-the-box solutions that increase efficiencies and drive innovation implementation in our company.
What do you do to relax?
I like to play golf and go jogging. I also like to spend time with family.
What is your pet peeve?
I don't like it when someone just sees problems and ignores the opportunities these challenges can bring.
What was your first car?
If you were a car, which one would you be?
An electric sports car with Level 4 autonomous driving capability. This way I would enjoy excellent performance whether I was driving or being driven. Also, I would benefit from being driven safely and being able to arrive at my destination relaxed.
2014-present: General manager, Brose, Ostrava, Czech Republic
2009-2014: Operations director, Brose, Koprivnice, Czech Republic
2007-2009: Operations director control systems Europe, Dura Automotive, Duesseldorf, Germany
2004-2007: Plant manager, Dura, Koprivnice, Czech Republic
2001-2004: Business unit controller, Dura, Duesseldorf
1999-2001: Plant controller, Dura, Einbeck, Germany