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Ford global design chief Mays to retire

Retiring: During a career in the automotive industry spanning more than 30 years, J Mays worked in the design-houses of Audi, Volkswagen and BMW before settling at Ford.

Blue Oval brand to enter new design era as Callum prepares to take reins from Mays

7 Nov 2013

FORD’S global design chief J Mays will retire at the end of this year after more than three decades in the industry, having overseen every major new model from the American auto giant over the past 16 years including those developed in Australia.

The Aussie Falcon and Territory are not listed among the highlights of the 59-year-old Oklahoma native’s career, although the one-time Volkswagen/Audi designer – who sculpted the modern-era New Beetle – has been responsible for developing and managing the design language that now extends on Ford models throughout the world.

The signature vehicles that are listed in his comprehensive biography include the 2013 Fusion, 2012 Focus, 2011 Fiesta, 2010 Taurus, the current Mustang sportscar and F-150 pickup truck, while major concepts developed under him include the Ford Atlas, Evos, 427, Forty-Nine, Shelby GR-1, and Lincoln MKZ and MKC.

Taking the reins from Mr Mays on January 1, 2014, will be Moray Callum, 54, the former Mazda chief designer who for the past eight years has designed key vehicles for Ford that were developed in North and South America, including the all-new EcoSport city SUV and the forthcoming new-generation Mustang.

Mr Callum – the younger brother of Jaguar chief designer Ian – will become vice-president of design, reporting to group vice-president of global product development, Raj Nair.

Ford’s chief operating officer Mark Fields, who was the boss of Mazda early last decade when Mr Callum was working on the new generation of Mazda vehicles that would transform the Japanese brand, paid tribute to Mr Mays, saying the company was grateful for his creativity and leadership.

“The bold and sophisticated design language that J Mays pioneered will be visible for years to come in Ford vehicles and the auto industry overall,” Mr Fields said.

 center imageLeft: former Mazda chief designer Moray Callum.

“In addition to his talent as a world-class designer, J has brought together one of the most talented design teams in the business.”

Mr Callum will now lead the design of all concept and production vehicles for the Ford and Lincoln brands globally, while Mr Mays, who was recruited to Ford in 1997 by then North American chief, the Australian Jac Nasser, is likely to resurface on an entirely new project outside the company before long.

Two other long-serving senior executives at Ford also announced their retirement this week, with labour affairs chief Marty Mulloy – who served as vice-president of human resources at Ford Australia during his 34-year career at the company – and North America manufacturing boss Jim Tetreault both to leave at the end of the year.

Mr Mulloy will be replaced by US labour affairs chief Bill Dirksen, who likewise spent time in Australia as head of human resources for Ford here.

Executive director of global vehicle operations (manufacturing engineering), Bruce Hettle, will succeed Mr Tetreault and become responsible for Ford’s 30-plus production facilities in the US and Canada, the company’s largest manufacturing footprint.

Finally, Ford of Brazil chief Steven Armstrong has been elected as president of Ford South America, reporting to executive vice-president and president, The Americas, Joe Hinrichs.

Mr Armstrong is a former chief operating officer of Volvo Cars, and has worked for Ford of Brazil – the company’s largest business unit in South America – for the past 18 months.

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