Citroën design strategy director Mark Lloyd is the kind of bloke who sees opportunities, not problems.
“Back in 2009, it was a pretty bad time for the economy,” he says. “I gave a presentation about where I thought we should go.
"I opened it with images of world catastrophes from throughout history and highlighted the effects of those situations on accelerating change. I wanted to demonstrate the energy that can be harnessed from times of stress.”
Fast forward to a sunny day in April 2015 in the centre of Paris, and Lloyd is a vision of contentment, as well he might be as he navigates the traffic at the wheel of a C4 Cactus, a deliberately polarising car that his stark words in the boardroom six years earlier helped to make a production reality.
It’s for that foresight, coupled with a relentless desire to think differently, that Lloyd has been honoured with the 2015 Sturmey Award, named after Autocar’s founding editor, Henry Sturmey.
The award was created in 2014 to salute innovation and achievement in the motor industry, and Lloyd was selected by judges not just for his work on the Cactus, the underlying philosophy of which will influence future Citroën design, but also his role in establishing the DS brand.
Lloyd arrived at these pivotal roles after an early career that stands out for its glittering success and a slightly wilful approach to attacking convention.
“As a child, I was interested in sailing boats, and it was the Weymouth Speed Week that fascinated me,” he says.
“People went along with weird and wonderful creations trying to beat speed records.