GM Europe CFO Maestri loves to compete

Luca Maestri, GM Europe VP of finance

Luca Maestri
General Motorsí Luca Maestri has lived in seven countries during his professional life. But wherever he goes, he keeps one piece of Italy close to his heart: the Juventus soccer team. Maestri has been a passionate supporter since he was a small child.

An economist by profession, Maestri joined GM in 1988. In 1992, he was appointed chief financial officer for GM Ireland, and two years later moved to Singapore as director of operational analysis for the newly established GM Asia-Pacific headquarters. He was assigned to Thailand in 1997 to oversee the start-up of the companyís new manufacturing facility in Rayong.

He relocated to Detroit in 1999 as director of executive support for GMís CEO and the automotive strategy board. In 2000, he was appointed executive in charge of joint development initiatives with Fiat. And in June 2005, he moved to Brazil, with overall financial management responsibility for operations in Brazil and Argentina.

He was appointed to his present position in March 2007.Name: Luca Maestri.

Title: General Motors Europe vice president of finance.

Age: 44.

Nationality: Italian.

Family: Wife Katrina and two children: Chiara, 5; Max, 4.

Languages: Italian, English and Portuguese.

Countries lived in: Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Ireland, Singapore, Thailand, US, Brazil.

Education: Masterís degree in management from Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; bachelorís degree in economics from Libera Universita Internazionale degli Studi Sociali (LUISS) University in Rome.

First car: A white second-hand Renault 5.

What cars are in your garage?

An Opel Corsa and a Chevrolet Captiva.

If you could work in another position or industry, what would it be?

Sports journalism. I am a big sports fan and enjoy writing.

What sport would you like to participate in competitively?

Tennis and skiing would be at the top of my list. I have been skiing since I was 6, so I have some experience. I took up tennis later in life.

What talent would you really like to have?

To be good enough at a sport to compete at a professional level. I think that would be amazing.

How do you relax?

I try to do interesting things with my family on the weekends. The kids have just started skiing, and we are taking advantage of the slopes that are in easy reach of where we live in Switzerland.

What are your strongest personality traits?

I set very high standards for myself and tend to be persistent. Combine the two, and I guess you get a perfectionist.

What are you good at?

Remembering. Seeing the big picture. Academic things.

How would you describe your management style?

I try to set clear priorities and instill a sense of purpose. I also believe that selecting and empowering a talented team is one of the most effective things I can do.

How has your management style changed over the years?

Experience has helped smooth my edges a bit. I delegate more and have become better at collaborating across the company.

What kind of holidays do you like?

All sorts. We love traveling. Katrina and I lived in Southeast Asia for a number of years and want to go back soon. Bali is one of our favorite spots.

What is your most treasured possession?

The watch my grandmother gave me. Also, some pieces of furniture and art that remind us of the places we have lived and of different stages in our lives.

What kind of music do you listen to?

Soul is my favorite, but I appreciate a variety. Right now, our kids have strong opinions about what we listen to, so some songs are not exactly top-of-the-charts material.

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

We had a 25-year reunion of my high school class in Rome a couple of months ago. Most of us had not seen each other since we graduated. It was extraordinary fun, almost like a time-travel experience. It reminded me what an important part of my life those years were.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I like nice watches.

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

Julius Caesar. I was born and lived in Rome for 25 years and studied the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. I found it fascinating, and I think Julius Caesar would offer real insight into the culture and values of that society.

What is your greatest professional achievement?

When I was in Brazil, our team executed a spectacular turnaround in record time.

What is your greatest personal achievement?

My family, without a doubt. I just wish I had more time to spend with them. I think I am quite good at switching off quickly when I am out of the office, so hopefully quality compensates for lack of quantity.

What do you like to read?

I wish I had more time to read. I like fiction and good biographies. Katrina is an avid reader and has a stack of books ready for me at all times. I just need to travel less and work less, but I guess that will have to wait a while.

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