Chris Mason is Chief Executive Officer for FISITA. FISITA’s organization of events such as the biennial World Automotive Congress, the annual World Automotive Summit and the annual braking specialist event EuroBrake, as well as its patronage of its Members’ conferences, has led to FISITA becoming an international leader in the exchange of knowledge in all areas of automotive technology. In the following Q&A, Chris shares with us valuable insights on the topics of leadership and success.
TBR: What is your current role and area of responsibility?
CM: As CEO I take overall responsibility for all operational matters and development of strategy formation. Leading the global FISITA organisation is a real privilege, I have an excellent staff team, which makes work a pleasure and of course I am fortunate to be well supported by the Executive Board and entire FISITA community.
TBR: How would you describe your leadership style and why has it worked so well for you?
CM: I am open about how I describe my leadership style, any of my team will tell you it’s ‘expectant and supportive’. My Myers Briggs evaluation reports my dominant management styles to be visionary, participative and coaching, with an INTJ personality type. Management style is a key skill that requires investment, just like any other workplace skill. Personally, I find I learn most from researching those leaders I admire, coupled with an investment in my own personal development within this area, something I encourage others to do, as I believe it is fundamental to success.
TBR: What do you see as your biggest challenge right now?
CM: My biggest challenge, is the motor industry’s biggest challenge. The shift in technology that sees the ‘motor industry’ become the ‘mobility industry’. FISITA is a member service organisation and we have to move with the technological pace of change of our members in order to continue to deliver relevant products and services to them.
TBR: What do you look for when evaluating top talent?
CM: In broad terms, an enquiring mind with a fundamental appreciation of what is required, an ability to create detail from vision (or vice-versa) and deliver progressive plans within a team environment.
TBR: What was your first job in Industry?
CM: An apprenticeship with Jaguar in the mid 1980’s.
TBR: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at age 20?
CM: Slow down a little and listen to those that have your best interests at heart, but don’t ever stop!
TBR: Name your favorite / recent book(s) you have read.
TBR: What has been the biggest contributor to your success at this point?
CM: Slowing down a little, listening to those that have my best interests at heart and never, ever stopping.
TBR: Tell us a something that most people might not know about you or your organization.
CM: FISITA is a French acronym for ‘Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Ingénieurs des Techniques de l’Automobile’ because that’s where we were formed in 1948.
FISITA was founded in Paris in 1948 with the motto Progressons en Commun – Together we Progress. FISITA’s purpose is the same today as it was then: to bring together engineers from across the globe to share ideas and advance the technological development of the automobile.
FISITA is the umbrella organisation for the national automotive societies around the world. Our network of Member Societies represents over 190,000 automotive engineers. FISITA’s goal is to provide a forum for dialogue amongst these engineers, as well as industry, government, academia, environmental and standards organisations.