Stefan Fischer, 35
Director of R&D vehicle motion, Bentley
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
My interest started as a young boy with my passion for motorsports and go-kart racing. Back then I couldn't think of anything more exciting than being an engineer and developing sporty cars. This is why I did my dual studies with Porsche and started working as a calibration engineer for evaporative emissions for hybrid cars. It's all about developing the essence of sportiness, the powertrain.
Your greatest achievement?
On a career level, I am really proud of my recent promotion to director of R&D vehicle motion at Bentley. This role gives me the great opportunity to shape the company's future by implementing systems engineering and enabling our Beyond 100 strategy. Personally, I'm a passionate triathlete. For about 12 months I trained hard and sacrificed time with family and friends to be able to finish an Ironman triathlon (a total race distance of 226.2 km) in 2018.
Born: Weimar, Germany
Languages: German, English
Education: Bachelor's degree in engineering, Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University, Stuttgart, Germany
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
I applied for a job, which I thought I would be a really good fit for from a skills and team perspective. It hit me hard when I wasn't successful, but it also taught me to stay calm. There will always be new opportunities. Today, I realize, not getting this job was the best thing that could have happened to me. Just a few months later I was offered another job that ended up really boosting my career.
What is your current challenge at work?
R&D vehicle motions combines powertrain and chassis development to create a functionality that focuses on customer requirements and desires. The new structure went live just recently and the main challenge is to merge the two departments (powertrain and chassis development) with regard to roles and processes as well as from a cultural and personal point of view so that we can deliver superb systems engineering and develop outstanding cars.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
This is really simple but good advice: Treat others like you want to be treated.
May 2021-present: Director of R&D vehicle motion, Bentley, Crewe, England
2019-2021: Director of powertrain engineering, Bentley, Crewe
2009-2019: Various roles in powertrain and engine development, Porsche, Stuttgart, Germany
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
Define your own meaning of success and don't focus only on career progression. Success from my point of view is contributing in the best way you can to the company's products or services. Strengthen your strengths and strive for improvement whenever you can.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
I already have the best job in the world. However, if I had my pick I would like to work in one of the Volkswagen Group's brand strategy departments, where I would hope to further define the purpose and widen the picture of the company. I would like to help shape a sustainable future using a beginning-to-end perspective.
What do you do to relax?
I'm a passionate triathlete, so anything to do with swimming, running or cycling makes me happy. However, it's also important to spend time with family and friends. My current favorite place is our garden. I like to enjoy the sunshine, a good barbecue and the company of my wife.
What is your dream location to live?
I really like my wife's happy place, which is lake village of Grundlsee in Austria. It's a wonderful place to relax and unwind. We spend our vacations there whenever possible.
What is your favorite driving song?
"Mo Money Mo Problems" by The Notorious B.I.G.
What was your favorite road trip and why?
When my wife and I had just begun dating, she told me she had never been to the ocean. That's when I managed to borrow a nice company car and we drove through the Alps to the Cote d'Azur. We had lovely weather, a nice car and enjoyed the beautiful sites. My future wife was delighted, setting us up for a wonderful future together.
What was your first car?
I drove a Renault 19.
I have an Audi Q3.
If you were a car, which one would you be?
That would be a Porsche 911. To me it has unobtrusive sportiness, shows traditional values but also continues to strive for change.