Chris Cortez, 46
VP, Fleet Operations, DaimlerChrysler
Education: Bachelor's, marketing, Western Michigan University; Master's, management, Wayne State University
First automotive job: With Mopar Parts Division, 1976
Proudest achievement: "I'm proud of recent projects such as our Fleet Customer Satisfaction initiatives where customers have ranked us No. 1 for several years. I believe that our Web site activity and order-to-delivery performance have been instrumental, supported first and foremost by a very strong sales force. A few years ago I directed our production planning function during a time when demand far outstripped supply. We really had to pull together to optimize for the company, even knowing that certain markets would suffer. The success of that team effort was particularly rewarding."
On being successful: "Good performance is the bottom-line mandate, but the other side is putting together a strong team and getting the best from it. My brain is not big enough (to do the work alone. You have to be able to mobilize the team. If your ego gets in the way, it limits the input you'll get. To be successful you need to control the ego - that helps keep an open flow of ideas and information."
On being a woman in the industry: "After so many years it's hardly an issue on a day-to-day basis. When it comes to talking about real work issues, being a female doesn't come up - we're just getting the work done. It still comes up in the social side of work, but things will change there, too. Our fleet customers are a very diverse group, and I think they enjoy seeing the diversity in the company. My goal is for our employees to mirror our customer body. That's when everything works right."
Other positions at DaimlerChrysler (formerly Chrysler Corp.) include:
- 1998 General Manager, Fleet Operations
- 1996-98 Finance Director, Sales and Marketing, and Minivan Operations
- 1994-96 Controller, Mopar Parts
- 1987-92 Manager, Corporate Finance