Jeff Guyton could have been a doctor. But instead of joining his father, uncle and brother in the medical field, Guyton chose to combine his passions for business and Asia. Ford Motor Co. has benefited from Guytons decision. Not long after earning his masters degrees in business administration and Asian studies in 1991, the US carmaker hired Guyton and made him the first non-Japanese employee of Ford of Japan. He moved to Ford subsidiary Mazdas headquarters in Hiroshima, Japan, in 2000 to be general manager in the cost planning division and was named an executive officer of the company in 2002. Guyton moved to Germany in November 2003 to become Mazda Motor Europes vice president of finance and systems, and chief financial officer. When he is not working, Guyton likes to practice tai chi, a Chinese exercise that focuses on slow fluid movements, with his wife.
Name: Jeff Guyton.
Title: Mazda Motor Europe vice president of finance and systems, and chief financial officer.
Languages: English, Japanese, some Spanish, learning German.
Family: Wife LeAnn; two daughters, Adele, 7, and Helen, 4.
Countries lived in: US, Japan, Germany.
Education: Masters degrees in business administration and Asian studies from the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; bachelors degrees in chemistry and Asian studies from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, USA.
What is in your garage now? Mazda6, Mazda3, and in my Michigan home, a pristine Saab Turbo from before joining Ford.
If you could work in another industry, what would it be? Probably medicine. My father, brother and uncle were or are great physicians. I was accepted at medical school when I graduated college, but decided to continue studying Japanese and get an MBA instead.
What are your career highlights so far? One of the best jobs Ive had was preparing Fords financial review for its board of directors. I am also lucky to be following Mazdas current generation of products from clay to customer.
How do you relax? I try to get as much peace as possible from my 45-minute commute to and from the office.
What is the first thing you do when arriving home from work? Kiss my girls!
What book are you reading now? The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe by Lynn McTaggart and A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle.
If you could meet any figure from history, who would it be? Winston Churchill.
What are you good at? Simplifying the complex.
What are your strongest personality traits? Im very diplomatic.
When are you not at your best? The 10 minutes before setting off on a family vacation.
What was the most fun you had last year? One highlight was certainly my daughter Adeles first violin recital.
What are your most treasured possessions? The old house we have restored in Ann Arbor.
What CDs are in your car right now? Sting, Frank Sinatra, Dave Brubeck, and German for beginners.
Where would you really like to live? Usually the last place we went on vacation.
What are your strongest attributes as a team leader? Empowering people to do their best.
What is the most fun you had last year that had nothing to do with cars, or the car business? A vacation to Italys Amalfi Coast, although driving on all the narrow, winding roads was part of the fun.
What is the trait you most dislike in others? Closed-mindedness.
What is your favorite restaurant? The Lark, in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Its awesome.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Among them is learning to sing one karaoke song well.