Linda Jackson takes over at Citroen: Vive la difference

With the minimum of fuss, Citroen announces that its new CEO will be Linda Jackson

A little searching was required to establish that Linda Jackson is an Executive MBA graduate [1990] from Warwick University.

One of the few available reports came from the English language website Connexion France:

A BRITISH woman has been appointed head of French car manufacturer Citroën. Linda Jackson, 55, will take over from current CEO Frédéric Banzet on June 1. Mr Banzet is taking on a senior role as PSA shareholder Société Foncière, Financière et de Participations (FFP).

Warwick University graduate Ms Jackson boasts more than 35 years of experience in the motor industry in a variety of financial and commercial roles, including finance director for both Rover France and Citroën France. She is currently managing director of Citroën in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Ms Jackson will be the first woman to head Citroën in its history – and the third woman to take the helm at an international car manufacturer. [Annette Winkler has been CEO of Smart since 2010, while Mary Barra became General Motors’ boss on January 15 this year.]

Ms Jackson’s appointment was announced as part of a major top-level shake-up at PSA Peugeot-Citroën, Europe’s second largest car manufacturer, as it seeks to return to profit by 2016. On the same day that Ms Jackson starts her new job, Yves Bonnefont will become head of the DS “marque”. He has been charged with accelerating the development of DS as a premium brand.

Ms Jackson and Mr Bonnefont – and Peugeot boss Maxime Picat – will report to new group CEO Carlos Tavares.

In a BBC interview, [30th May, 2014] Ms Jackson was (inevitably) quizzed about being a woman in a male-dominated industry. She avoided the various ways of dealing badly with what should have been a tiresome question. She said that she was appointed because the Company thought that she was the best person for the job. She avoided those ‘women are more …’ answers but said she thought she suspected that was more reflective than other (male) leaders she had worked with or for. I interpreted this to suggest she was less prone to impulsive behaviours when taking a major decision.

Ms Jackson also mentioned her preference for collaborative or consultative leadership processes. Maybe this would fit into stylistic category of distributed leadership?

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