What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
I developed my love of cars while growing up in the British Midlands. I joined Rover Group as a sponsored student, which means I worked in various departments during each summer while studying at university. My first job was installing steering columns in the Mini 30. You really develop a special appreciation for the product when you work on the line.
Doubling the volume of Vauxhall's commercial vehicle sales in the UK to 50,000 over a two-year period in the middle of the last decade and sustaining that level. Also, in 2009, significantly boosting the business volume at Opel Special Vehicles, which makes police cars, taxis as well as CNG and LPG conversions. We were adding people from other plants in the European network because we had so much work.
Biggest failure and what it taught you?
After making a few mistakes when it comes to hiring I have learned the importance of good recruitment. It is better to take a bit longer to fill a position and to be a bit more thorough because the consequences of a bad hire can last for a long time.
What is your current challenge at work?
As rivals start to turn more to fleet sales because of the tough retail market in Europe, our challenge is to remain the manufacture of choice by offering the innovative products that customers need.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
The scale of it. Despite the downturn, Europe still accounts for about 18 million vehicle sales a year. That's a lot of cars. And while the industry is huge and global it still often seems like a small community.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
At Vauxhall I was taught early on that when you reorganize you have to create the right structure first and then find the right people.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
If you are interested in cars, go for it. It is hard to imagine another industry where the people have such an emotional connection with the product.
If you were CEO of a company what would you do first?
For me, I would want to truly understand the strength and weaknesses of the organization and go from there. Often those strengths and weakness are not what you think.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
It could take two different directions. On the one hand I'd like a job with a more global reach. At the same time, I really enjoyed my time as managing director of Opel Russia so I would love to be the MD at a very large unit within the organization.
What do you do to relax?
My passion outside of work is following the Aston Villa football club, which has been my team since I was 7 years old. Despite living in Germany, I'm still a season ticket holder. Even though I can't get to all the games, every time I do get to see a match it's a great day out.
A blue 1986 1.1-liter Ford Fiesta.
An Opel Insignia BiTurbo CDTI with all-wheel drive for me and an Opel Meriva for my wife.
Nov. 2012-present: Director European fleet & commercial vehicles, Ruesselsheim, Germany
2010-2012: Director European fleet sales, remarketing & used vehicle operations, Ruesselsheim
2009-2010: Managing director Opel Russia, Moscow
2009 (Jan-Sept): Managing director Opel Special Vehicles, Ruesselsheim
2007-2008: European director remarketing & used vehicles, GM Europe, Ruesselsheim
2005-2007: Director pan European corporate sales & leasing, GM Europe, Ruesselsheim
2001-2005: National commercial vehicle manager, Vauxhall, Luton, England
1999-2001: District manager for southern England, Vauxhall, Luton,
1997-1999: Senior market research analyst, General Motors, Detroit
1996-1997: Product research specialist, GM Europe, Zurich Switzerland
1992-1996: Various marketing positions at Vauxhall, Luton
1988-1992: Sponsored student program, Rover Group, Birmingham, England