Verena Kloos, 44
President, BMW Group DesignworksUSA
Education: Bachelor of design, industrial design studies, University of Fine Arts, Braunschweig, Germany
First automotive job: Team leader in design, color and trim; r&d, at Volkswagen AG in Wolfsburg, Germany, in 1987
Most fun automotive job: "All of them. I would not do it if it would not be fun. I would not do anything if there would not be joy and fun. This is one of my primary goals."
- 2000-04 President, DaimlerChrysler Advanced Design Italia s.r.l, Como, Italy
- 1999-2000 Project manager, Mercedes-Benz Design, DaimlerChrysler AG, Sindelfingen, Germany
- 1996-98 Senior manager, DaimlerChrysler Smart, Renningen, Germany
- 1994-96 Project manager, Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg, Germany
- 1991-94 Design director, design center, Volkswagen of America, Simi Valley, Calif.
- 1989-91 Chief designer, color and trim, Mazda Motor Corp., R&D Center Europe, Oberursel, Germany
- 1987-89 Team leader, design, color and trim; r&d, Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg, Germany
Proudest achievement: "What I do now. When I look backward, I have studied product design, industrial design. I have worked more or less only in automotive design. What I do now, it's actually embracing where I have started with product design and having still a lot of possibilities to work in car design. In Designworks, we have a high percentage of design work for nonaffiliates of BMW. This is very exciting, too."
Current challenge: "That's time. I would love to have far more time to follow up more in detail with all the things. The biggest challenge I'm facing right now is really performing the global perspective on all the things we are doing. I'm running a company with 120 employees, and we do an enormous amount of projects here. I would love, from my nature, to be in every project in a very detailed way, and I cannot. It's not my role. So, this is my challenge, to be everywhere at the same point of time."
On being successful: "Keep your humor, definitely. As long as we live, we deal with human beings. Therefore, it's so important we stay humane and keep our humor."
What about the auto industry surprised you: "In the beginning, that was when I entered for the first time in the automotive design department, I gained more insight. I was really amazed about the complexity and the high degree of professionalism of the processes we're running. After all these years, I'm still impressed and amazed and still have hope for more excitement in the future."
What women need to know for success in the auto industry: "Networking in terms of knowing a lot of people, getting good feedback through this network or from others. Feedback is very essential, and no one should be hesitant to get it. And women should definitely take more advantage of their usually straightforward thinking."
Job to which you aspire: "I would love to do my job perfect here. This job here, my role here gives me so many possibilities and opportunities. If I do these things right, it's such a pleasure."
What you do to relax: "I do jogging on the beach. And I love good food, definitely. And I am reading a lot, everything - books, literature, magazines."