Click on the plus sign to read the biography of each speaker.

Steven Armstrong

Group Vice President and President, Europe, Middle East and Africa
Ford Motor Company


Steven Armstrong is responsible for leading Ford’s European and Middle East and Africa business units, executing the One Ford plan to achieve profitable growth through an unprecedented focus on new products, a strong brand and increased cost efficiency. He reports to Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president, Global Markets.

Previously, Armstrong was vice president and chief operating officer, Ford of Europe. In this position, he was responsible for many of Ford of Europe’s operations, including manufacturing, quality, product development, purchasing, sustainability, environment and safety engineering. Prior, he was president Ford South America responsible for all Ford South American operations since January 2014.

A native of the United Kingdom, Armstrong has worked in the United States, Sweden and Germany. He served as president, Ford Brazil, starting in June 1, 2012, leading all aspects of Ford’s largest business unit in South America.

During his 25-year-plus career, Armstrong has served in a variety of senior management and purchasing positions for Jaguar, Volvo, Ford of Europe and served as chief operating officer of Getrag-Ford Transmissions.

He has been recognized with many awards, including being named a Eurostar by Automotive News Europe in 2005 for improving supplier relations for Volvo.

Born in 1964, Armstrong is based in Cologne, Germany. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of East London. 

Joerg Astalosch



Joerg Astalosch was born in Germany in 1972. His career within the Volkswagen Group began in 1988 in Wolfsburg. After an apprenticeship and studies he worked in various roles in Procurement and General Management.

From 1999 he worked for the CEO of the Volkswagen AG, from 2002 for the Chairman of the Supervisory Board. In 2004 Astalosch was appointed Head of Controlling and Finance of Audi of America and Audi Canada; from 2007 he worked as a General Secretary to Rupert Stadler at Audi AG.

Later that year he started to work again for the Chairman of the Supervisory Board. From 2012 to 2014 he was Chief Financial Officer at MAN Truck & BUS AG, Munich, where he was responsible for controlling, accounting, IT, legal, export control & foreign trade issues and treasury.

From mid 2014 to 2015 he worked again directly for Volkswagen Group’s Supervisory Board Chairman.

He has been the CEO of Italdesign since September 2015.

Brigitte Courtehoux

Head of Mobility Services BU


Brigitte Courtehoux is Head of the Connected Services and New Mobility Business Unit within PSA Group.

She started her career at PSA Group in 1998. She successively managed new engines and project planning for the Citroën C5. She later worked in the field of quality insurance, for the Citroën C3 Picasso and at a corporate level. Before her current position, she acted as project manager for the Peugeot 2008.

Brigitte Courtehoux is a graduate from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Physique in Grenoble, France.

In 2015 she was awarded ‘Woman of the Year' by Women and vehicles in Europe.

Luca de Meo


de Meo

Luca de Meo is the President of SEAT, S.A., a position he was appointed to in November 2015.

Mr. de Meo graduated in business administration at the Universita Commerciale Luigi Bocconi di Milano, and has more than 20 years’ experience in the automotive sector.

He started his career at Renault before moving to Toyota Europe and then joined Fiat Group, where he headed the brands Lancia, Fiat and Alfa Romeo. He joined the Volkswagen Group in 2009 as head of marketing for both Volkswagen passenger cars brand and Volkswagen Group. In 2012, he was appointed to the position of board member for sales and marketing at AUDI AG. He is also a member of the supervisory boards of Ducati and Lamborghini and chairman of the board of Volkswagen Group Italia.

Stefano Domenicali

Chairman & CEO


Stefano Domenicali is Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Automobili Lamborghini. He has covered several important roles in Ferrari from 1991 to 2014.

He became Vice President New Business Initiatives at Audi in November 2014 before taking over his current role at Lamborghini in 2016. He is also President of the F.I.A. Single Seater Commission.

Didier Leroy

Executive Vice President, Chief Competitive Officer &

President, Business Planning & Operation
Toyota Motor Corp.


Mr Leroy began his career in the automotive industry in 1982 with Renault, where he held a number of senior positions at their production plants over a 16-year term.

Mr Leroy joined Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF) in September 1998 as Vice-President in charge of Manufacturing.

In April 2010, Didier Leroy was appointed Chief Quality Officer, serving as Europe's representative in the newly established Special Committee for Global Quality, chaired by TMC President Toyoda.

In July 2010, he was appointed President of Toyota Motor Europe, also retaining his responsibilities of TMC Managing Officer and Chief Quality Officer.

In April 2015, Mr Leroy was appointed President of Toyota No. 1, which covers R&D, manufacturing and sales for the North American and European regions; the Japan Sales Business Group; and the Product Planning, Design and Motorsports functions related to the Toyota No.1 regional scope. He was also appointed Chairman of Toyota Motor Europe.

In June 2015, he has become the first non-Japanese Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Corporation and a member of the board of directors of the company.

In April 2016, he was made Chief Competitive Officer of TMC, tasked with boosting the global competitiveness of Toyota.

Born in December 1957, Mr Leroy enjoys playing soccer, test driving cars, jogging, skiing, and river canyoning with his family. He is married with a son and daughter.

Gerry McGovern

Chief Design Officer
Land Rover


As Chief Design Officer for Land Rover Gerry McGovern is a critically acclaimed automotive design leader.

After completing a degree in industrial design at Coventry University, McGovern studied for a Masters at the Royal College of Art in London, specialising in automotive design. His early career took in stints at Chrysler, Peugeot and Rover Group, where he was lead designer of the critically acclaimed MGF sports car, Land Rover Freelander and third generation Range Rover.

After a spell at Ford Motor Company heading up Lincoln-Mercury, McGovern returned to the UK to run a design consultancy in London before re-joining Land Rover in 2004 as Director, Advanced Design. He was appointed Land Rover Design Director in 2006 and his position has since grown to include the role of Chief Design Officer and he is an Executive member of the Jaguar Land Rover Board.

Responsible for guiding and visioning the future of this great British brand, McGovern has overseen a new generation of Land Rovers, which has established design at the very core of the business. The process began with the phenomenally successful Range Rover Evoque and was followed-up with the all-new Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Discovery Sport and Discovery. More recently McGovern led the team who created the Range Rover Velar.

McGovern's passion for design extends beyond the automotive industry; he is an authority on modern architecture, furniture and contemporary art. In October 2014 he was announced as a Visiting Professor at the prestigious Royal College of Art in London. His high profile status positions him perfectly as the figurehead of the Land Rover brand at a global level.

Gilles Normand

EVP Electric vehicles


Gilles Normand started his career at Renault, in 1988, at Product Planning department before moving to Sales & Marketing Division.

In 1998, he was appointed Vice President, Commercial Coordination, for Renault Mercosur. In 1999, he joined Nissan in Japan to take in charge the Sales & Marketing for Latin America and Caribbean. In 2003, he was appointed President of Nissan Motor Espana prior to becoming Corporate Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Middle East, Africa & Latin America in 2006.

In 2009, he was appointed Corporate Vice President, in charge of Africa, Middle East and India for Nissan, Infiniti and LCV Business Units and in charge of Europe for Infiniti and LCV Business Units. In April 2012, he became Senior Vice President, Chairman of Asia-Pacific Region of Groupe Renault.

Since 1 January 2017, Gilles Normand has been Senior Vice President, Electric Vehicle of Groupe Renault. He is a member of the Renault Management Committee.

Leyre Olavarria

Head of Connected Car & Infotainment


Leyre Olavarria holds an industrial engineering degree from Deusto University.

She began her professional career in France at the Wella cosmetics company before joining SEAT in 2003, where she started working in R&D in the Complete Vehicle division. Later in 2009, Ms. Olavarria joined the Electrical Development department, where she was in charge of HMI (Human Machine Interface), which today has evolved into UX (User Experience).

Ms. Olavarria was named head of Connected Car & Infotainment in 2012. In this position, she faces the challenge of defining the connectivity and connected car strategy for all of the brand’s models.

Hakan Samuelsson

President & CEO
Volvo Car Corporation


Hakan Samuelsson is the president & CEO of Volvo Car Corporation, a position he was appointed to in October 2012.

Mr. Samuelsson started his professional career in Scania in 1977 where he stayed for more than 20 years.

He held leading positions within Scania’s technical division before he joined the executive board in 1996.

He brought his vast truck experience from Scania to MAN in 2000, when he became head of MAN Nutfahrzeuge, a subsidiary of MAN AG.

When Mr. Samuelsson became CEO of MAN in 2005, he initiated a broad restructuring of the group which resulted in an enhanced and more efficient organization with a more focused product portfolio.

Mr. Samuelsson has worked Latin America and across Europe.

Mr. Samuelsson is also a board member of Teknikföretagen.

Hakan Samuelsson earned an MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

Kristin Schondorf

Global Automotive & Transportation Mobility Leader


Kristin Schondorf is an executive director at EY’s Advisory services practice leading the Automotive and Transportation Mobility practice.

Ms. Schondorf spent over 20 years at Ford Motor Company. From 2012 to 2013 she was the dedicated global lead to define Ford’s overall vision on the future of mobility: determining how to address key macro societal and environmental issues such as “global gridlock” and outlining the fundamental near/mid and long-term technologies required to deliver the plan.

Ms. Schondorf is viewed as a “Mobility Thought Leader” and is asked to speak at numerous events including the 2012 SAE World Congress Panel on Mobility. She is a regular guest lecturer at MIT and her extensive network includes numerous start-ups, small companies, and major technology innovators including IBM, Cisco, Qualcomm, Apple and Google.

Also at Ford, Ms. Schondorf created and restructured groups, and worked extensively with product development processes. Her projects included the rebranding of Lincoln as a luxury brand.

Prior to joining EY, Ms. Schondorf was director of Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s fuel economy and greenhouse gas plan, where she provided direction for a fleet-compliant robust plan to meet future regulations in the most cost-effective manner.

Ms. Schondorf holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in French from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Aleix Valls

Mobile World Capital


Aleix Valls is mathematician and engineer with a Ph.D. in Fluid Mechanics. He began his professional career as a researcher at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in 2000.

During his career he has worked as a manager for several engineering and consulting firms such as Compass, The NODE Company, LOOP Consultancy and Accenture.

Alain Visser

Senior Vice President


Born in Belgium, Alain Visser started his career in the automobile industry in 1986, where he worked his way up to various senior positions at Ford, including president and managing director, Ford Benelux. He is now vice president of global marketing, sales, service and PR at LYNK & CO. Before joining Geely, he served as vice president of marketing, sales and customer service at Volvo, globally.

For the last two years, Mr. Visser has been named in the top ten most influential chief marketing officers (CMOs) in the world, by Forbes Magazine – for his honest and forthright approach in making big changes within the automotive industry.

Mr. Visser also worked at General Motors' Rüsselsheim, Germany HQ for eight years. His roles there included chief marketing officer and vice president of sales, marketing and aftersales at Opel/Vauxhall. He was also a member of the board of Adam Opel AG.

Alain Visser holds a masters of science from the University of Antwerp, as well as an MBA from Duke University in North Carolina, and speaks six languages, including Italian, English, French and German.

Hildegard Wortmann

Senior Vice President Brand BMW


Hildegard Wortmann has a strong international background in global marketing, branding and communication as well as product strategy.

Having studied business science Hildegard also holds an MBA (London).

She started her career with Unilever where she held various positions in product and international brand management in several countries and finally moved on to the luxury goods business of Calvin Klein at Unilever.

Entering BMW Group in 1998 she was in charge of the MINI relaunch and global brand management, which is still considered an iconic brand case. From 2010 until May 2016 she was responsible for the worldwide product management for BMW.

Since June 2016 Hildegard has headed the newly created division “Brand BMW”, which encompasses product management, brand management and marketing services.

For more information, contact Georgia Chapman
Director of European Marketing & Events
+49 89 5795 9137


Libby Irwin
Conference Director
+1 313 446 0420


Exclusive Lead Sponsor:

Ernst & Young

Host Sponsor:

© Automotive News Europe | Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy | Visit ANE Rising Stars Website