Brian Carolin's career in the motor industry began right after he finished college. He joined Ford of Britain as a graduate trainee in what was then the company's industrial relations department.
He spent four years with Ford before joining Nissan Motor Manufacturing in 1984 as personnel manager. During the past two decades with Nissan, he has held top jobs in purchasing, production control and marketing. In 1998, he became Nissan Motor GB managing director. He moved to Paris in March as vice president of sales.
Carolin loves to cycle. He was selected to join other enthusiastic amateur cyclists this year and last year to take part in one of the toughest athletic challenges they are ever likely to face -- completing an entire stage of the Tour de France. Carolin has written a book about the experience, which he would like to publish.
Name: Brian Carolin.
Title: Nissan Europe vice president sales.
Languages: English and struggling with French.
Family: Married; daughter, 17.
Countries lived in: UK, Holland, France.
Education: Bachelor's degree in politics and economics from Newcastle University; doctorate in industrial relations from the London School of Economics.
First car: A Vauxhall Chevette inherited from my dad. My first "real" car was a Ford Capri.
What is in your garage now?
A Nissan 350Z, an X-Trail and a Ducati 916 motorcycle.
What is your greatest personal achievement to date?
Completing a 200km stage of the Tour de France through the Pyrenees from Pau to Bayonne and winning a silver award in my age group.
What are the highlights of your career to date?
Becoming the first British managing director of Nissan Motor GB -- Nissan's sales company in the UK.
How do you relax?
By cycling. I go out every weekend for a three-hour ride regardless of the weather. During the summer, if I get home early enough, I will cycle in the evenings.
What kind of books do you read?
A mixture of crime, biography and books about cycling. At the moment, I'm reading a book on Stalin and a cycling book about Lance Armstrong written in French. This is a slow process, but it might help improve my French language skills.
When you come home after work what is the first thing you do?
Change out of my suit and into jeans and a T-shirt.
If you could meet any figure from history who would it be?
Henri Des Grange, the father of the Tour de France. I'd want to ask him how he had dreamed up something so painful and tortuous. I find it incredible that the competitors can maintain such a relentless pace for three weeks.
When are you not at your best?
After a stage in the Tour de France.
What are you good at?
If you were to choose an alternative career what would it be?
I would like to be a writer. Last year I wrote a 70,000-word book about taking part in the Tour de France. It hasn't been published, but I enjoyed the writing experience. I'd also like to write a crime novel and a biography.
What are your strongest personality traits?
I'm a good listener, which many senior managers are not. I'm also pretty relaxed.
What was the most fun you had last year?
A vacation in California last summer. My daughter went to a surf school for a week then she coaxed me along for a few days. It was terrific.
What is your most treasured possession?
My racing bike, which was custom-made for me by the Italian manufacturer Colnago.
What CDs are in your car right now?
What's there is heavily influenced by my daughter so this means everything from U2 to Eminem to the US rock band Creed.
Where would you really like to live?
Somewhere warm such as Australia or California.
What are your strongest attributes as a team leader?
I'm decisive. I think there's nothing worse than a senior manager who can't make decisions. I tend to reach a decision and stick to it.