More than 35 years since I started working in automotive, I’m still often asked what it’s like to be a woman running a car company. Thankfully, the world has changed now but, when I joined in 2005, it was unthinkable that a British woman would be CEO of a French car manufacturer. I think it’s important to encourage women to aspire for jobs in the industry. Autocar magazine recently identified the top 100 British women working in the automotive industry and I was honoured to receive the title of ‘Most Influential Woman in the Car Industry’. I think their initiative is an important step forward in addressing one of the major challenges of our times, enabling women to obtain titles like mine.
Women bring a different perspective to the way of operating a brand, and considering that fifty percent of sales are to women and the decision behind buying a car is often also a woman’s, needless to say we need diversity in the industry. At the same time, buying a car is based on emotion; it’s a product that you like, you want it to express who you are and be able to personalise it and this is something that we want to introduce to a younger audience to change perspectives about the industry. Clearly it’s not macho, I prove that myself because I’m not an engineer, my background is in finance. We need women and young people to cross that barrier and bring new ideas to the table.