Education: Engineering degree, Paris Ecole Centrale Engineering School
Family: Husband, Benoit; daughters: Veronique, 32; Charlotte, 28
I was a director of planning at Renault. I was responsible for strategic studies in the area of new technology. I enjoyed it because I had the chance to have immediate contacts with the different managers of units within Renault. For a first job, you could develop an understanding of what were the fundamental challenges facing an automaker.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
When I was appointed president of the 3P business unit (product planning, product development, purchasing project). I had to build up the whole unit from scratch within one year, which was really exciting.
What is your proudest personal achievement?
Seeing my children get a good education. As a woman, perhaps the biggest satisfaction you can have is to have children and see them get a good education. Veronique studied engineering like me and Charlotte is a business school graduate.
What’s your biggest current challenge?
Achieving our goals for Renault Commitment 2009. Secondly, to develop an efficient global purchasing organization. That is to say, formulate new ideas with global suppliers but then to put them into action at a grassroots level. It’s really the concrete application of “Think global, act local” as we say at Renault.
What about the auto industry surprised you?
I think it has been the speed of globalization. The evolution of the product is reasonable. It’s an industry that is really driven by a process of development and manufacturing. You build cars every day with such a high level of quality. I know of few other volume industries with such a level of perfection. That surprises me every day. Even more so when you have an industry with more and more countries, more and more projects with which they work, that underlines the necessity for the excellence of these processes.
What can be done to encourage more women to enter the auto industry?
We have to communicate better on what careers are available in the automotive industry. Development, purchasing and sales can be handled as easily by women or men. In the complex world, women can bring simplicity. The most important thing is to simplify things. Women can play a role here.What is the best advice you have ever received?
My first boss, Michel Collin, who was the head of purchasing when I joined the department, told me: “You always have to respect our partners from the supplier businesses.” They are businessmen working in a very tough environment so we must always respect our suppliers. Respect is the essential ingredient of a true partnership.
What advice would you give a woman considering a career in the auto industry?
Believe in yourself, work hard and be confident.
Do you think women in the auto sector are pushed toward marketing and communication roles?
We don’t see that at Renault. It’s true that we are an industry where there are more women in the legal, IT and communications departments, perhaps because there is a fear of the manufacturing industry. But if we think about processes, women can really play an important role. You contribute to building a product and that is very rewarding. If they realize that, there will be more going into this field.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
I’m pleased with purchasing. Maybe a dream job would be to run my own small business. After spending time in such a large international organization, you have to cope with all the different departments. To have your own small business must be very rewarding.
What subject affecting women in the auto industry is not talked about enough?
I think it’s very important that the automotive companies are well balanced in terms of men and women. I think Renault is a good example of this. We have women in a lot of important operational positions. It is important to show that it is not surprising to have women in these roles.
What do you do to relax?
I play golf and jog. I also like to read and listen to classical music. Of course, I also love to spend time with my family.