Incoming Citroën boss Linda Jackson plans to use the experience of her successful tenure leading Citroën’s UK operations to grow the brand internationally and return it to profit.
Jackson will take over from Frederic Banzet on June 1 and is tasked with implementing the ‘Back in the Race’ turnaround plan, the brainchild of new PSA Peugeot-Citroën boss Carlos Tavares.
Speaking to Autocar at the inaugural Autocar Stars event in London last week, Jackson believes it was her track record of success for Citroën in the UK and 35 years of experience in the automotive industry working for several different brands that landed her the top job in Paris.
Citroën UK and Ireland boss since 2010, Jackson said her plan was to build the brand, improve customer satisfaction and boost dealer profitability.
“We need make money and be profitable, so we moved away from the discounting and worked on improving residual values,” she said.
Jackson worked closely with dealers to eradicate Citroën's discounting culture and moved away from unprofitable fleet deals, instead focusing on selling models to private customers on more profitable finance deals.
Citroën’s UK sales were up six per cent last year to 78,358 units, the latest in a series of rises since Jackson took over. The profitable DS3 in particular is a big seller for the brand.
This success has been noted by Tavares, who has now appointed her to the top job in Paris. Jackson describes Tavares’ Back in the Race’ plan as “incredibly detailed” and her job will be to “define the plan and align it to strategy”.
“Citroëns are about creative design and innovative, useful technology, and being comfortable,” she said. “It is in our DNA to innovate.
“Citroëns are also affordable for mainstream customers,” she added, stating that the firm would explore new sales schemes such as “pay as you drive or pay as you go” to allow a buyer to “best utilise their budget”.
Jackson has previously worked in Paris and believes that having her “Anglo Saxon, British way of doing things will be a good thing in a diverse French company”.