Education: Political science degree, Aix en Provence Institut díEtudes Politiques, Aix-en-Provence, France; MBA, European Centre for Executive Development, Fontainebleau, France
Family: Husband, Jean-Francois; children: Alexandra, 32; Maude, 30; Romain 30
It was really by accident, rather than a deliberate choice to be honest. I had just finished university and I really wanted a job at an international company. When a position with Renault came up, it was a great opportunity so I took it. I donít regret it a single bit.
Whatís your proudest professional achievement?
It was when I was director for Renault France Automobiles. I had been given two years to completely restructure the Renault-owned dealership network. This area of the business had traditionally been a loss-maker for the company. Within two years, my team and I made it profitable again.
Whatís your proudest personal achievement?
To have successfully maintained a good work-life balance. Iím perfectly happy in both my professional and personal life with three great children. Itís always a fine balance you have to maintain, but I think I have been able to do so.
Whatís your current challenge at work?
There is only one right now. To meet the goals of the Renault Commitment 2009 by not losing ground this year and next year. In every job, there are challenges -- itís what makes the job interesting.
What about the automotive industry surprised you?
That it is such a fast-moving business. Automakers get the investment for their products five or six years in advance, but at the same time they have to adapt very quickly to the changes in customer tastes.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Take nothing for granted. I donít think any one person gave me this advice, it just came with experience. You must never say, ďEverything is going well.Ē
What advice would you give to a woman who wants to work in the automotive industry?
To forget the fact that she is a woman. Itís not a problem. You also must learn to love cars and the customers that buy them.Have you encountered sexism in the automotive industry?
When I was responsible for pricing and sales forecasts, I had a lot of contact with the competition across Europe. There was one instance when I was in Wolfsburg, the opposite numbers at that automaker thought I was the assistant of one of my colleagues. I think in the German automobile industry there is still a lot of progress to be made. German automotive products appear to be founded on very masculine values, in my opinion.
Do you think women are pushed toward marketing and communication positions?
Not today. Perhaps many years ago that was the case. There are great opportunities for women in all areas of this business. When I came to Renault, just 2 percent of women were in executive positions. Today, itís more than 20 percent.
What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
It was when I was director of marketing for Renault France. I underestimated the potential of the Renault Scenic. My team and I thought it would be difficult to win over Espace customers and so we made more modest sales predictions for the Scenic. That turned out to be a mistake. I learned that you should always be confident and believe in the potential of the product that you are launching.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
Iím doing it now.
What do you relax?
I spend time with my family. I enjoy boating. I also read a lot.
If you were the CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Find out the strengths of the products that this business makes. The strength of a business is its products. A business without strong products is finished.
What subject affecting women in the industry isnít talked about enough?
I donít think itís any different from any other industry. The only difference between a man and a woman is that a woman has children.
If a business doesnít know how to handle this situation, itís a problem for the business, not for the person. Itís the only difference that affects a womanís professional life. We must accept that and organize around it.