Missing Stefan Jacoby

PARIS -- The news that Stefan Jacoby suffered a mild stroke last week provided a somber reminder that life doesn't always respect our plans. I heard about the Volvo CEO's troubles on Monday while preparing materials for an interview we had planned for today at the Paris auto show.

I will miss speaking with Jacoby because he's always well-informed and he's a straight-talker. He proved this during our first chat, which came two years ago at Paris, as he was able to provide concise, complete answers on two tough topics in just 5 minutes.

At the 2011 Detroit auto show, he was able to provide a full, detailed summary of Volvo's ambitions for the next decade for Europe, China and the United States in less than 30 minutes. The only other CEO I know with this type of talent for communication is Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn.

The last time Jacoby and I met, which was just three months ago, he gave an inspired speech to the 2012 Automotive News Europe Rising Stars in which he provided the next-generation CEOs, CFOs and board members the following tips:

    • Be flexible because the side roads lead to the most interesting places

    • Take risks because fear of failure can be a road block to success

    • Live for today and don't worry about tomorrow because if you do a good job the future will take care of itself

    • Find a work-life balance so that your job is stimulating and challenging but it is not the only focus.

That night in June, Jacoby said that he continued to struggle with No. 4 on his list, but he vowed to never stop trying. His body sent him a clear message that the his work-life balance needed to be addressed immediately.

The good news is that Jacoby is a fighter and he's already well on the road to recovery. In a statement this week, the 54-year-old German said he is focused on resting and exercising so that he can get back to work as soon as possible.

Everyone at Automotive News Europe wishes him a quick and full recovery, and we look forward to meeting up with him again very soon.