Bentley’s Hoffman knows some smooth moves

Jürgen Hoffman, Bentley board member for finance, information systems and legal

Jürgen Hoffman
Dancing in public can be scary for some but not for Bentley’s Jürgen Hoffman. He and his wife Suzanne are accomplished ballroom dancers.

They do it for fun but also because it provides a complete mental break from their number-crunching day jobs. (Hoffman’s wife works for Bentley parent Volkswagen’s financial services team.)

Hoffman’s first job in the motor industry was as financial controller of Audi’s plant in Neckarsulm, Germany, where he spent eight years.

In 1987 he went to Brazil to work on performance and result analysis on a VW-Ford joint venture. He returned to Germany in 1990 and held several senior positions.

In 2001 he relocated to the UK as chief financial officer for Cosworth Technology and in July 2004 took up his current position with VW subsidiary Bentley Motors.Name: Jürgen Hoffman.

Title: Bentley board member for finance, information systems, legal.

Age: 52.

Nationality: German.

Family: Wife Suzanne.

Languages: German, English, Brazilian, Portuguese, a little Hungarian, a little Japanese.

Countries lived in: Germany, UK, Brazil, Hungary.

Education: Combined degree in mechanical engineering and business administration from the Wurzburg-Schweinfurt University of Applied Sciences in Wurzburg, Germany.

First car: A 1968 Volkswagen Beetle.

What cars are in your garage now?

An Audi S5 and an Audi TT roadster. I also share Bentley models with other directors.

If you could work in another sector what would it be?

Interior design, architecture or investment banking.

How do you relax?

I like reading, gardening, dancing and cooking for friends. I make dishes from Brazil as well as Hungarian specialties such as goulash. I like to make goulash in the slow, traditional way in which you cook it over an open fire with a drink or two during the preparation.

What talent would you really like to have?

I’d like to play a musical instrument, preferably the piano.

What are your strongest personality traits?

I’m very positive and tend to see the positive in people and situations.

How would you describe your management style?

I’m a team player. I listen. I am approachable and open to other opinions.

Has your management style changed over the years?

I have had to be flexible as I have worked in different countries. You have to be able to adjust and to recognize that the typical German approach to doing business doesn’t work in every culture.

What was the most fun you had in the past year?

Designing and furnishing an apartment in Munich from scratch in a contemporary style. I particularly like wood. My father was a carpenter therefore nice pieces of furniture appeal to me.

What kind of holidays do you like?

Usually trips to somewhere warm in the south of Europe.

What is your most treasured possession?

My relationship with my wife. We have been together since we met at university.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I’m a finance person, I don’t have one!

What kind of music do you listen to?

Classical and pop.

What figures from history would you like to have dinner with?

Our company’s founder, W.O. Bentley, Albert Einstein and Michelangelo. I’d like to ask them about how they see the future.

Do you have time for active leisure pursuits?

I enjoy jogging and cross country skiing. Plus, my wife and I love ballroom dancing. We spent five years taking classes and enjoy all styles from the waltz to the rumba. Dancing works the brain and the body and you’re doing it with your partner, which allows you spend time together. It is also very sociable and a lot of fun.

What is your greatest personal achievement to date?

Going to university and completing my degree without financial support from my parents. I came from a big family and while my parents supported me mentally and emotionally they were not in a position to pay for my education.

What do you like to read?

I usually read to “escape” so I enjoy fiction thrillers from writers such as John Grisham, Dan Brown and David Balducci.

If you were given a three-month holiday what would you do with it?

I’d drive the Transamerican Highway from Alaska to Chile.

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