A British woman is the new CEO of Citroen effective June 1. Linda Jackson, 55, head of Citroën in the UK and Ireland since 2010, takes the driver’s seat at the 95-year-old company from former chief Frederic Banzet.
The Warwick University graduate has more than 35 years experience in the motor industry, but is just the third woman to ever head up a major car maker.
Ms Jackson has presided over a 6 per cent rise in sales in her region in the past year alone, successfully moving the company away from a discounting culture and unprofitable fleet deals.
She told the BBC in an interview (that you can watch below), that she believes having her Anglo Saxon, British way of doing things will be a good thing in a diverse French company. She said: “We want to be more creative, affordable and offer things that really matter to mainstream customers”.
Ms Jackson is taking the the wheel at Citroën at a difficult time, with parent company PSA Peugeot Citroën, Europe’s second-biggest carmaker, struggling to stem losses in most of its traditional markets.
Outgoing chief Mr Banzet is a member of the Peugeot family, which is reducing its stake so the company can accept a 3 billion euro cash injection from the French government and China’s Dongfeng Motor Group.
France, Dongfeng and the Peugeot family will each hold a 14 per cent stake in the company, with the hope that the Chinese connection will help drive higher sales in the country, now the world’s biggest car market.
The reshuffle comes shortly after Carlos Tavares, a former Renault executive, took over from former Peugeot CEO Philippe Varin.
Strategy director Yves Bonnefont, who currently doubles as deputy head of Citroen, will lead the premium DS marque as it separates from Citroën under a recovery plan unveiled by Mr Tavares.
Ms Jackson and Mr Bonnefont will sit on the group’s executive committee along with Peugeot brand chief Maxime Picat.