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British woman to head French car giant Citroën
Linda Jackson will be the first Briton and first woman to head French car giant Citroën. Photo: screengrab

British woman to head French car giant Citroën

Published on: 09 May 2014 12:55 CET

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Linda Jackson is soon to become the first woman and the first Briton to head the historic French carmaker Citroën.

Fifty-five-year-old Jackson will on June 1 move into her new job at the helm of the 95-year-old company that gave the world classics such as the iconic DS.

A graduate of the Warwick University, she has over 35 years experience in the motor industry in a variety of roles and currently runs Citroën's operations in Britain and Ireland.

She will take over from Frederic Banzet to become the third woman boss of a major car manufacturer. 

Annette Winkler has been at the helm of Smart since 2010, while Mary Barra became General Motors’ boss in January this year. 

Citroën is part of PSA Peugeot Citroën, Europe’s second-largest carmaker after Volkswagen. 

Yves Bonnefont, currently director of strategy, has been appointed chief executive for Citroën’s new DS luxury brand. 

Jackson and Bonnefont will be responsible for implementing the 'Back in the race' strategic plan for their respective businesses and will report directly to PSA Peugeot-Citroën chief executive Carlos Tavares. 

The turnaround plan focuses on differentiating the Peugeot, Citroën and DS brands while streamlining the vehicle range to meet clients’ needs globally.

The reshuffle comes shortly after Carlos Tavares took over from outgoing Peugeot chief executive Philippe Varin. 

The carmaker is teaming up with China’s Dongfeng Motor Corp outside Europe. Dongfeng, the French state and the Peugeot family will each hold a 14 percent stake in the company.

Peugeot was weakened considerably by its heavy dependence on the slumping European auto market and hopes its tie-up with Dongfeng are expected to lead to higher sales in China, the world's top car market. 

It reported a 177 million-euro operating loss in 2013, its second unprofitable year in a row, following a six-year contraction in Europe’s auto market.

by Rory Mulholland

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