Bobbie Gaunt, 53
President and CEO, Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd., Ford Motor Co.
Education: B.A. business and education, University of Pittsburgh; Senior Executive Program, Stanford University
First automotive job: Summer internship, owner relations, Pontiac
Proudest achievement: "What I'm most proud of and what has energized me so much is the fact that we are transforming this company. This has required extremely hard work on the part of every Ford of Canada employee, be they hourly or salaried. Despite the sometimes wrenching change and hard work behind making it work, employee satisfaction results from our surveys are at an all-time high and are second in the Ford world. That's not to say that we're perfect; we have a ways to go. For me, excellence is not a destination, but rather a continuous journey. Even with what we've gone through and the challenges we continue to face in our transformation, we've built employee satisfaction, positioning the company to compete in the 21st century."
On being successful: "Early on, a dealer said I had to choose between two paths - politics or people. He advised me to choose early on because if I didn't, I'd get swept up in the politics. This needed to be a conscious decision made early in one's career, and I chose to focus on people. Basically, the dealers took me under their wing and taught me the business. I still keep in touch with some of the dealers I originally called on. One significant lesson is that the customer really doesn't look at the business in a functional or segmented way. Their whole opinion, even back then, was holistic and based on their experience at the dealerships. Back then, dealers thought new business sales drove everything and service was an afterthought to support the warranty. It led me early on to beat the drum on customer service and on the name 'Ford' in terms of our brand."
On being a woman in the industry: "I am a president who happens to be a woman, not a woman who happens to be president."
Other positions at Ford Motor Co. include:
1995-97 General Marketing Manager, Ford Division
1992-95 General Sales Manager, Lincoln-Mercury Division
1987-89 Regional Manager, Western Region, Ford Division
1972-87 Positions in Research, and Sales and Mark