Guillaume Salvo, 44
Director of product lines for light vehicles, Faurecia Clean Mobility, Faurecia
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
After a short time in the aerospace industry I switched to the automotive sector, starting with Robert Bosch as an executive trainee for automotive sales. I have always had a strong interest in automobiles.
Born: Dijon, France
Languages: French, German, English
Education: MBA, Ashridge Hult Executive Education, Berkhamsted, England; master’s degree in engineering, Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Arts et Metiers, Paris, France
Your greatest achievement?
It was the turnaround of a customer relationship that had deteriorated, causing sales to go down. After a year of hard work, we solved a number of legacy issues, rebuilt trust, improved execution and started to grow the business again. The best part of this experience was seeing how it helped members of my team grow, flourish and earn promotions.
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
Fortunately, I have not experienced any great failure, but I do remember a difficult situation I faced as a student. We were trying to sell advertising space to local businesses to fund our year-end party. After I made my pitch to a business owner and thought I had offered him a great deal, the business owner gave me strong and clear feedback as to how little value he saw in my offer. This taught me a great lesson: Value is always in the eye of the beholder.
What is your current challenge at work?
In the past two years, we have reviewed our strategy and redefined the company as Faurecia Clean Mobility. The key priorities for my team and I are to support the transformation of the business and to grow it beyond manufacturing exhaust systems. We do this by accelerating our product innovation. We focus on profitable growth and capital efficiency.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
There are defining trends that have changed the industry. That includes electrification, autonomous driving, as well as new business models such as shared mobility. The ability of automakers to cooperate with their suppliers to address these challenges in a capital efficient way is unique.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
When dealing with customers, be fair, firm and humble. This goes a long way.
2014-2018: Global accounts director for Volkswagen Group, Honeywell Transportation Systems, Rolle, Switzerland
2012-2014: Global accounts director for Ford and PSA Group, Honeywell Transportation Systems, Rolle
2010-2012: Global accounts director for Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo Cars, Honeywell Transportation Systems, Rolle
2008-2010: Key account manager, Bosch Diesel Systems, Stuttgart, Germany
2003-2008: Sales and program management roles, Bosch Diesel Systems, Stuttgart
2001-2003: Executive trainee program technical sales, Robert Bosch, Stuttgart
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
The automotive industry is moving fast. Be persistent, resilient and engaged. Seek challenges, as they are the best way to learn and grow. Don’t be afraid to question the status quo. You will enjoy great years working with passionate people all over the world.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
I currently sit on the management board of our European division. This gives me a great perspective. In the future I would like to be a CEO so that I have the chance to guide a company during these exciting times.
What do you do to relax?
Catching up on podcasts on subjects such as history or food on my daily commute home is refreshing after a good day at the office. I also love spending time with my family on the weekends.
What is your pet peeve?
What was your first car?
A 1986 Opel Corsa.
An Audi A6.
If you were a car, which one would you be?
A Porsche 964 RS because it is lean, reliable and consistently provides good fun.