Location: Guyancourt, near Paris
Education: Food Science Engineering degree, ENSIA Grenoble (Ecole Nationale Superieure des Industries Agricoles et Alimentaires); Masterís of Quality Management, ESCP (Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris)
Family: Husband, Thierry Sybord; children Florent, 12, and Clara, 9
With Renault, in 1989, in the quality control division.
Why did you seek a job in the auto industry?
I wanted to work for a large firm, which is why I tried the packaged food sector. What I found was that Nestle was a pure marketing play. I tested it, and found it quite interesting, but ďyogurtĒ wasnít really for me. I had the same experience with Air Liquide, which is also an interesting company, but the product, gas, was just too immaterial. Renault offered a product with high added value in the right environment.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
I was head of development for the Espace, which is one of the signature vehicles of the Renault brand.
What is your proudest personal achievement?
I am very proud to have been a high-level classic dancer. Ballet structured my entire childhood. I dreamt a lot more about dancing than I did about my studies when I was young.
What is your current challenge at work?
The automotive market is evolving very quickly, in Europe and around the world, with new regulations on the environment, on CO2 emissions. The industry is at the center of the storm. Finding the right range of products to meet consumer needs and regulatory demands will be the biggest challenge for the next 10 years.
2005 -- 2007: Product range director, Segment D+E (large and luxury range, which means Espace, Vel Satis, Laguna
2002 -- 2005: Exploratory product manager for E segment (large and/or executive vehicles)
1997 -- 2002: Product manager, Espace IV
1995 -- 1997: Product manager, Laguna II
1993 -- 1995: Market research analyst
When I started at Renault, there was a tremendous fear of the Japanese. There was this feeling that the Japanese carmakers had found the secret to making the best cars, and there was little to be done about it. Renault management was afraid of being bought out by a Japanese firm, and the whole company was calling itself into question. I hadnít expected that.
What are the biggest obstacles facing women in the auto industry?
I donít really have the impression that there are major obstacles for women in the automotive industry today. I certainly donít consider that being a woman has ever been a handicap for doing the job. I donít present myself in a typically feminine manner, or allow there to be any consideration of fragility attached to the fact that I am a woman. I had two children, and never found that hurt my career.
What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry?
Itís clear that diversity is very healthy for a company, and having a diverse work force creates different points of view and helps us work better together.
We need to have more women in the industry, and thereís no reason why women should not be represented here at Renault in the same proportion as they are in the entire work force.
At the same time, itís important not to force the issue. There are still fewer women than men in engineering schools, but I would not be in favor of anything resembling quotas.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in the auto industry?
This is a really interesting industry, there is a lot to do, a lot to learn, so donít hesitate. You donít have to jump at the first offer that comes from LíOreal! Donít be afraid of the automotive industry, itís not the old steel industry of the 1950s.
What do you do to relax?
I go jogging on the weekends, and go to the theater.