Working in the automotive industry and becoming the CEO of an iconic brand like Citroën had not gone through my mind at all as a young girl just starting college. My plan was to become an English or history teacher and I only took a two-month summer job in the Jaguar accounts department at age 18 to earn some money. Little did I know that I would get bitten by the car mistake and never look back.
More than 35 years since I started working in the automotive industry, I'm still often asked what it's like to be a woman with a car company. Fortunately, the world has changed now but when I joined in 2005, it was unthinkable that a British woman was CEO of a French automaker. I think it's important to encourage women to aspire to jobs in the industry.
Autocar magazine recently identified the 100 British women working in the automotive industry and I was honored to receive the title of 'Most Influential Women in the Automotive Industry'. I believe that your initiative is an important step towards solving one of the major challenges of our time, allowing women to obtain titles like mine.
Women bring a different perspective to the way a brand operates, and taking into account that fifty percent of sales are for women and the decision behind buying a car is often also a woman, needless to say We need diversity in the industry.
At the same time, buying a car is based on excitement; It is a product that you like, you want to express who you are and be able to customize it and this is something that we want to present to a younger audience to change perspectives on the industry. Clearly not macho, I prove it because I am not an engineer, I have experience in finance. We need women and young people to cross that barrier and bring new ideas to the table.
My hope is that my staff does not think 'we have a British woman', but 'we have a great boss'.