Ibtissam Aziz Bury, 41
Group vice president (PSA account), Faurecia
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
Even as a child I was impressed by and attracted to cars and planes because of the power and influence they have in the world. When I started my career as an R&D engineer at Valeo I was part of a very supportive team. They encouraged me, gave me a chance to learn but also appreciated my expertise. They opened the door to the automotive world for me. I have since embraced this very challenging, innovative and interactive environment.
Ibtissam Aziz Bury
Born: Casablanca, Morocco
Nationality: Moroccan and French
Languages: French, English, Arabic
Education: Master’s degree in engineering, SupMeca (Ecole Superieure d’Ingenierie Mecanique) Paris, France; bachelor’s degree in engineering, Ecole ENSEM
Your greatest achievement?
I’m proud of the significant transformation we have made to Faurecia’s core business from an innovation standpoint to better serve one of our main strategic customers, PSA. This resulted from the creation of an agile strategy to support development. In order to support PSA’s goals, particularly after the acquisition of Opel/Vauxhall in 2017, we quickly adapted our product plan and incorporated significant changes to our industrial footprint. All this was done by a great and dedicated team, resulting in a sustainable and collaborative partnership with our strategic customer. From a personal point of view, I’m grateful I had the courage to leave my family and beloved native country in 1998. I pursued my studies in France and went through several professionally challenging positions. My parents were and are still very supportive. My father in particular cheered for me, which wasn’t a given for this Moroccan woman who is passionate about the automotive world.
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
I spent two years developing an intensive strategic collaboration with an automaker. It was an ambitious plan to generate new business and conquer markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. My team was poised to launch the initiative but from one day to the next the project was stopped because of geopolitical reasons. I took it hard but after a few days I decided to do what I always do: embrace the situation, protect my teams and support the customer despite the difficult circumstances. It's important to be resilient and flexible so you can grow and adapt in a changing environment.
What is your current challenge at work?
Like so many it’s dealing with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Being on lockdown has taught me that it’s important to keep focused on how we can grow as individuals as well as a company. We have to keep planning for the future despite uncertain times, adapt quickly to change, remain creative and be patient. I believe the global automotive industry will have changed greatly after this crisis is over.
March 2017-2019: PSA business unit director for program and sales, Faurecia Seating, Brieres
2016-2017: Director for serial life, sales and programs, Faurecia Seating, Brieres
2013-2016: Serial life sales manager, Faurecia Seating, Brieres
2011-2013: Program sales engineer, Faurecia Seating, Brieres, France
2009-2011: Business unit manager connectivity & infotainment, Levallois, France
2007-2009: Consultant and business development director, Segula Automotive, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France
2002-2007: Consultant and project manager, Michelin and Valeo, Ile de France, France
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I was told that when facing difficult situations at work let your focus remain on your own core values and stay committed to your customers and your team.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
The automotive world is both captivating and demanding. If you are passionate, resilient and can think like an entrepreneur, this industry will welcome you with open arms.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
I think that any position requiring strong leadership and vision within a diverse team would fulfill my ambition and curiosity.
What do you do to relax?
I love to welcome family and friends to my house and treat them to a home-cooked meal.
What is your dream location to live?
Right now I would say New York City because I’m amazed at the city’s diversity and fast pace. Once I’m over 65, I would prefer to have an island to myself.
What is your favorite driving song?
“Lost but Won,” by Hans Zimmer from the movie “Rush.” It gives me a feeling of freedom.
What was your favorite road trip and why?
In 2010 I rented a beautiful white Ford Mustang in Florida and cruised from Palm Beach down to Key West. It was a wonderful experience. In today’s fast-paced world I usually have to choose the quickest routes, leaving less time to spend meeting people and discovering the local culture and cuisine. However, during the journey with the Mustang I savored time at a much slower pace.
What was your first car?
A Peugeot 205. It was also the car that I first learned to drive with while growing up in Casablanca, Morocco. Looking back, I consider driving that Peugeot as a sign of my destiny.
A Peugeot 3008. This crossover is a best-seller in Europe that has garnered many awards, making it a credit to PSA. I’m very proud because it’s well equipped by Faurecia.
If you were a car, which one would you be?
I would like to be a 1930s Volkswagen Type 1, which is also known as the Coccinelle in France, the Käfer in Germany and the Beetle or Bug in the UK and U.S. This was the people’s car because of its durability and classic lines. There’s still the unsolved mystery of whether this car inspired the Porsche 911. In my opinion, it did.