John French of Skoda answers Barker's Dozen
24 February 2016
1 What was your first job?
My first role out of university was joining Volkswagen Group's graduate scheme as a finance specialist. I later earned my CIMA [Chartered Institute of Management Accountants] qualification and worked as Audi UK's management accountant.
2 What was your first company car, and what do you drive now?
My first company car was a VW Golf. I now drive the new Skoda Superb estate.
3 What did you listen to on your last car journey?
Mornings alternate between Planet Rock and Radio 4. On the way home it is usually Radio 6 Music
4 What do you wish you could do better?
I have tried to teach myself the saxophone, but after 12 years of effort I might need to admit that lessons are the only option for me.
5 What's your biggest achievement?
Uprooting my family and moving to work for Shanghai Volkswagen for three years. We had an incredible experience both personally and professionally.
6 What are your three favourite films?
It is hard to find time to watch movies that are not Disney films chosen by my kids. However, if able, any film from the Bourne series is a favourite. On a recent long-haul flight I took the opportunity to watch Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and The Blues Brothers.
7 What's the stupidest thing you've done?
Bought a saxophone thinking I had the time and skill to teach myself how to play it!
8 What was the most hotly debated topic at your last meeting?
Sales forecasts, what else?
9 What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind?
Northampton Saints Rugby Club.
10 What's the worst thing about your job?
The time away from my family. I was spoilt whilst in China with being so close to the office and not having to travel too much. Back in the UK, and in a national role, I am away much more often.
11 What one law would you make or change?
I would strictly enforce the need to keep left on the motorway. It annoys me more than it should
12 What did you want to be when you grew up?
I didn't know exactly, but I studied both the German language and business studies from the age of 13 through to university so joining a German business was kind of inevitable.
13 Who is your ideal celebrity date?
With eight-month old twins, any time for dating would be spent with my partner.
Company Skoda UK
Job title Head of sales operations
Home town Northampton
Family Partner to Alice, and father to Grace (11), Willow (8), Emmeline and Beatrice (8 months)
Sum up your company in 13 words or fewer An exciting brand with a strong history and the future ambition to match