Celebrating Citroën’s centenary of innovation

Citroën’s Linda Jackson is one of only two female car- maker CEOs in the world

Englishwoman Linda Jackson is helping Citroën celebrate its centenary from a position of power. The Connexion talks cars with the former accounts department worker

Citroën celebrates its 100th anniversary this month with Englishwoman Linda Jackson as its head.

She is the only woman to lead a French car company. Mary Barra, who heads General Motors in the US, is her sole female companion at the global car-makers’ CEO table.

Ms Jackson, originally from Coventry, has worked all her life in the car industry – first for Jaguar and then for MG Rover, where she started in the accounts department.

While there, she worked her way through night school between 1988 and 1992 to graduate with an MBA at Warwick University.

Her first job in France was in 1998, as a finance director, and then she was promoted to French managing director in 2000 and European finance director in 2004.

She told Connexion that she had good school French, having taken A-levels, and used it on holidays and during other travel.

“It was only when I moved here and started using it for work that I really improved,” she said. “For me, it is the best, and probably only, way of really getting comfortable with a language: working and living with it.

“I had to be interviewed by the French media and that was a real incentive to improve.”

Ms Jackson joined Citroën in 2005, first as finance director of the UK subsidiary, and then for the French operation between 2009 and 2010.

Promotion to head of Citroën’s UK and Ireland subsidiary followed in July 2010, and from there she was appointed head of the company in 2014.

“It is a job I absolutely love,” she said. “In the last five years the company has achieved so much and I am full of plans for how we can continue.”

Her office is in Paris and she lives in a flat in the western suburbs of the city but at weekends often goes to her house in Normandy. It is in a small village and she loves the peace and quiet after Paris. “I do not get back to the UK very often,” she said.

“My family mainly comes to see me – it is amazing how popular you are when you have a flat in Paris and a house in Normandy.”

Ms Jackson also spends a lot of time in airports – Citroën is present in 60 countries and she visits most of them.

She drives one of Citroën’s flagship C5 Aircross models.

Citroën is part of the PSA Group, which includes Peugeot, the group’s founding company, the luxury Citroën brand DS, and now Opel and Vauxhall.

Asked if she was looking for further promotion, she laughed. She said that Carlos Tavares, appointed CEO of ...

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