Automobilwoche, in partnership with Boyden, is honoring women who are making a difference through their work and impact. These are the Top 25 female influencers in the automotive industry in 2024.

By Agnes Lehbrink

This article has been translated; it originally appeared in Automobilwoche

Getting women into the automotive industry remains challenging, despite notable progress in recent years. While more women are achieving success, they still constitute a minority. What contributes to this situation? Several factors come into play:

One significant challenge is the lack of networks and advocates crucial for advancing to top positions. Moreover, once at the top, maintaining that position requires robust support networks, which are not always readily available. Female managers often reach leadership roles by changing companies, contrasting with men who tend to ascend internally over many years. However, female leaders are proactively strengthening their networks to sustain their positions.

According to the AllBright Foundation, as of September 1, 2023, there were 574 men and 121 women on the management boards of German listed companies. While this indicates progress, there is still ample room for improvement.

Another aspect is that there is still a lack of female graduates in so-called "MINT" subjects (mathematics, information technology, natural sciences and technology) who then climb the career ladder and thus mix management teams and boardrooms in a reasonably diverse way.

Another obstacle is the insufficient number of female graduates in the so-called "MINT" subjects (mathematics, information technology, natural sciences and technology), crucial for climbing the career ladder and fostering diversity in management teams and boardrooms.

In response to these challenges, initiatives like the Top 25 Female Executives aim to spotlight women who have made significant contributions to the industry. This initiative showcases women who have made a lasting impact, whether through years of dedicated service, career transitions, or emerging leadership potential.

This year, in collaboration with Boyden, an international executive search consultancy, we identified 25 remarkable women from diverse backgrounds and sectors within the automotive industry. These women were categorized into three groups based on their roles:

Furthermore, these outstanding women were evaluated across eight key categories reflecting their contributions to advancing the automotive industry amidst current challenges:

  1. Sustainability
  2. Digital Transformation
  3. Empowerment through Diversity
  4. HR Crisis Management
  5. Change Leadership
  6. Operational Excellence
  7. Innovation/Growth Strategy
  8. Visionary Leadership

The winners in each category demonstrate exemplary leadership and innovation:

Management Board

Senior Management

Women to Watch

It's important to acknowledge that every company is at a different stage of transformation regarding diversity and inclusion. While these female leaders have made notable strides within their respective categories, their journeys are ongoing, and there's still much work to be done.

The selection process involved a rigorous evaluation of their contributions, emphasizing effective solutions, impactful initiatives, and innovative approaches. The jury, comprising journalists from Automobilwoche and seasoned consultants led by Jutta Menzenbach, Global Sector Leader, Automotive at Boyden, carefully deliberated to nominate women who embody exceptional leadership and serve as inspiring role models for others.

By recognizing and celebrating the achievements of these outstanding women, we aim to inspire greater gender diversity and inclusivity within the automotive industry, paving the way for a more equitable future.

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