Pablo Martinez Masip, 42
Director product planning and pricing; COO Kia UVO Connected, Kia Europe
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
My first job was at DaimlerChrysler in Stuttgart. I was part of their R&D trainee program. During that time, I rotated through six different departments in my first two years. It was a great introduction to the auto industry because I was able to gain a wide perspective early in my career. As to why I am interested in the industry, I have simply loved cars since childhood. The more I learned about the industry the more it was clear to me that I wanted to be a part of it.
Pablo Martinez Masip
Family: Wife, Noemi; sons, Daniel, 8, Luis, 6
Born: Madrid, Spain
Languages: Spanish, English, German
Education: International executive MBA from IE Business School, Madrid, Spain; master’s degree in industrial engineering from ICAI School of Engineering, Madrid, Spain
Your greatest achievement?
Personally, I’m extremely proud of my two sons. Their personalities differ greatly but both are amazing. I love spending my free time with them. Professionally, during my 10 years at Kia working with a great team, we have been able to completely transform the company’s portfolio. I think we have some of the best products offered by any manufacturer in Europe. It has been a very rewarding experience to be at the heart of this transformation and see how ideas became products and how these products are now appreciated by our customers.
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
I have gone through a lot of ups and downs. It’s extremely important to have a company culture that focuses on finding ways to improve after a failure. I think that’s the best way to transform failures into opportunities, to learn something new and to improve.
What is your current challenge at work?
We are currently planning products that will be launched in five years’ time and will be sold until 2030 and even beyond. For many years the automotive industry evolved rather slowly; however, the current pace of change is much faster. That’s why it’s even more important to try and forecast how customers will change their behaviors and understand what products and services we need to develop to be successful.
2019-present: Chief operating officer, Kia UVO Connected, Frankfurt, Germany
2018-present: Director product planning and pricing, Kia Europe, Frankfurt
2012-2018: General manager product management and pricing, Kia Europe, Frankfurt
2010-2012: Senior manager pricing, Kia Europe, Frankfurt
2008-2010: Product and pricing manager, Chrysler EMEA, Stuttgart, Germany
What is the best advice you have ever received?
A former boss once told me something that may seem obvious. He said that it’s very important to have fun at work. We spend a lot of time at our companies — more than with our families in many cases. That’s why it’s very important to enjoy what we do and to have a positive working atmosphere.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
It’s a great time to start working in the auto industry because there’s so much change and innovation happening. I would advise this person to gather a lot of experience on how the auto industry works to understand what role he or she can play in the total value chain. That way they can get a better understanding in which direction to develop professionally.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
We spent the last 10 years transforming Kia. Now we have a very ambitious plan for the next decade. I am very happy to shape the future of Kia from my current position but would, of course, be thrilled to have even more responsibility and impact.
What do you do to relax?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling, playing sports and reading.
What is your dream location to live?
I have moved several times in my life, so I know every city has its pros and cons. Right now, my family and I are very happy in Frankfurt.
What is your favorite driving song?
“We Will Rock You” by Queen. I really love the energy the song brings to the drive. My children and I enjoy singing to it as loudly as we can.
What was your favorite road trip and why?
Ten years ago, just before joining Kia, my wife and I drove along the West Coast of the United States. It was in between jobs and I could just focus on enjoying the scenery and the great company.
What was your first car?
A Seat 127. My parents bought it when I was born in 1977. Eighteen years later it became my first car.
I drive a Kia Optima plug-in hybrid. I really love that, so far, I haven’t had to put any fuel in it. I mostly get to drive it in full-electric mode.
If you were a car, which one would you be?
A 1977 Lamborghini Countach LP400. It’s a classic.