Former CPO Jean-Philippe Collin today starts his new job as CEO of the French car maker Peugeot.
His promotion from purchasing vice-president of the PSA Peugeot Citroën group puts him in charge of its largest brand, which had worldwide sales of almost two million vehicles in 150 countries and revenues of over €20 billion in 2006.
As Peugeot boss, Collin (pictured) also becomes a member of the five-man group board, led by president and chairman Christian Streiff, to whom he has reported since February last year.
Speaking to CPO Agenda ahead of a company press briefing next week, Collin said he had always harboured the ambition to move out of purchasing, where he has spent most of his 25-year career, and into general management at some stage.
Asked why he thought he had been picked for the CEO job, vacated by Peugeot veteran Frédéric Saint-Geours, Collin said: “I have demonstrated in the purchasing role that I was capable of taking on significant challenges. Purchasing is not just about negotiation, it is about value management, operational excellence, collaborating with both strategic suppliers and the rest of the company, and changing mindsets. It was the right time for me to take the next step.”
Collin, 51, a founding member of CPO Agenda’s editorial advisory board, said his major objective in 2008 would be to increase growth in Peugeot’s core market of western Europe, where sales have been flat in recent years. He also listed “growing the morale and dynamism of our people”, and ensuring that they worked together well collectively as a team, as a key priority.
He said his previous roles had equipped him with many of the skills needed to run a large business. But he admitted that filling Saint-Geours’ shoes and mastering a broader role would be a personal challenge.
The biggest challenge would be to “understand the business dynamics of our distribution network and incentivise this network to sell our cars”. Peugeot owns its own distribution network, which employs around 12,000 of the company’s 17,000 staff, as well as using independent distributors.
Collin joined PSA Peugeot Citroën as CPO in July 2004, where he was responsible for an annual spend of €30 billion and 1,400 staff. He previously held CPO-level positions at the electronics group Thomson and the automotive supplier Valeo, having started his purchasing career at IBM in 1982.
Collin is succeeded as group CPO by Jean-Christophe Quémard, who has spent the past five years leading the development of the Peugeot 308 model.