«Our professional lives are built, step by step»

Del­phine Ker­varec-Vicq, 50, is Direc­tor of Func­tion­al Safe­ty with the Valeo Group. She grad­u­at­ed from the UTC in 1996 major­ing in Mechan­i­cal Engi­neer­ing, and she believes that she now has a job to do in the field of safe­ty, where ‘argu­men­ta­tion’ plays an impor­tant role.

Del­phine Ker­varec-Vicq has accu­mu­lat­ed over 28 years’ expe­ri­ence in the auto­mo­tive indus­try. She began her pro­fes­sion­al career as an NVH (noise vibra­tion harsh­ness) engi­neer at Gen­er­al Motors and then held var­i­ous exec­u­tive engi­neer­ing posi­tions with the Renault Group, work­ing on tech­ni­cal aspects, reg­u­la­tions, qual­i­ty assur­ance on ADAS (auto­mat­ed dri­ving assis­tance sys­tems), oper­at­ing safe­ty and gen­er­al prod­uct safe­ty. «I joined the Valeo Group in March 2023 as Direc­tor of Oper­a­tional Safe­ty. I grad­u­at­ed from UTC with a degree, major­ing in Mechan­i­cal Engi­neer­ing and spe­cial­is­ing in Acoustics and Indus­tri­al Vibra­tions, and also have an MBA in busi­ness law from the Law Fac­ul­ty, rue d’Assas, Paris. In my final year, I wasn’t sure whether I want­ed to study engi­neer­ing or busi­ness. As UTC also offers an edu­ca­tion rich in the human­i­ties, I opt­ed for this uni­ver­si­ty, con­vinc­ing myself that I could always do some­thing else after­wards, where­as the reverse is not pos­si­ble. I also liked math­e­mat­ics and abstrac­tion,» says the engi­neer who has spent her entire career in the auto­mo­tive engi­neer­ing sec­tor. She soon realised that work­ing in acoustics and vibra­tions wasn’t for her, but that she much more enjoyed man­ag­ing tech­ni­cal issues. «I was pas­sion­ate about tech­ni­cal and legal issues. I was very lucky at Renault because they allowed me to pro­gres­sive­ly move into this sec­tor. And when you’re in the right place, you flour­ish, so you per­form well.… Tech­ni­cal reg­u­la­tions were a real rev­e­la­tion for me, as some­one who loves words. Nat­u­ral­ly, I was very enthu­si­as­tic about the gen­er­al safe­ty of the prod­uct. In her spare time, she enjoys climb­ing and med­i­ta­tion. «Med­i­ta­tion to get to know myself and climb­ing for both body and mind.

«UTC is the engineering school of my heart»

One of her strong­points is that she under­stands what is at stake in a large com­pa­ny. «I was the right-hand (wo)man to a big boss at Renault. I under­stood what a man­ag­er expects from a very good tech­ni­cal pre­sen­ta­tion in order to make the right deci­sions. The qual­i­ty of a deci­sion already depends on the qual­i­ty of the dossier pre­sent­ed. After that, I want­ed to go back to the tech­ni­cal-legal side and focus on gen­er­al prod­uct safe­ty. After a few years in man­age­ment, I was appoint­ed Expert Leader, Oper­at­ing Safe­ty and Gen­er­al Prod­uct Safe­ty, and then I was “poached”, in essence, by the Valeo Group to become their Direc­tor for this area. I’m delight­ed to have devel­oped in this way, because it calls into ques­tion some of what I had to call my cer­tain­ties,» con­fides Del­phine Ker­varec-Vicq, who is always eager to learn new things. The auto­mo­tive sec­tor in which she has been work­ing since grad­u­at­ing from UTC comes pre­cise­ly from her engi­neer­ing school place­ments. «If I’d done an intern­ship in aero­nau­tics, I might still be in aero­nau­tics today. I think that our work place­ments as stu­dents at UTC, which will always remain the school of my heart, pre­dis­pose us to our future careers. So yes, in this sec­tor I’ve had to deal with sex­ism, but that hasn’t stopped me from evolv­ing. Things are chang­ing and today there are a lot of men­tor­ing pro­grammes for women. If you want a pay rise, you have to know how to ask for it… just like our male coun­ter­parts do,» con­tin­ues the woman whose mot­to in life is «do well, be hap­py and share”. Yes, I do my best to instil this vision in my two teenage chil­dren and my col­leagues. Noth­ing is impos­si­ble if you’re in the right place, the place that suits you and makes you tick. Good vibra­tions here again ?… 


  • 1996: Grad­u­at­ed from UTC, major­ing in Mechan­i­cal Engi­neer­ing (UTC-ME)
  • 1996–1998: Test and Qual­i­ty Engi­neer with Gen­er­al Motors Inc.
  • 1999–2023: Renault Group 
    • Acoustics Engi­neer (1999- 2005)
    • Pro­duc­tion Reg­u­la­to­ry Com­pli­ance Team Man­ag­er (2005–2010)
    • Head of Func­tion­al Safe­ty and Gen­er­al Prod­uct Safe­ty Depart­ment (2011–2021)
    • Lead Expert in Func­tion­al Safe­ty and Gen­er­al Prod­uct Safe­ty (2021–2023)
  • 2023: Direc­tor of Func­tion­al Safe­ty at Valeo.

Le magazine

Avril 2024 - N°62

Faire face aux enjeux environnementaux

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