There have been – as previously reported – many changes taking place within design at FCA’s European design facility since the Italy-based company and French manufacturer PSA merged to form the Stellantis Group at the start of the year. Besides the appointment of Francois Leboine to head the Fiat-Abarth brands and the welcome announcement of the revival of the Lancia brand (which will now be led by Stellantis Chief Design Officer Jean-Pierre Ploué), it has now been confirmed that Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos will be the new Head of Design for Alfa Romeo.
Mesonero-Romanos will join the Stellantis Group on July 1, 2021, and take over leadership of the Alfa Romeo marque, reporting to Ploué. While it may seem strange to appoint a Spaniard to lead the design direction of the iconic Italian brand, Mesonero-Romanos’ history and experience appears perfectly in tune with the new opportunity, despite his passport.
Prior to his short-lived appointment as design director for the Dacia brand, Mesonero-Romanos lead the renaissance of VW Group’s Spanish subsidiary Seat and spearheaded the Cupra performance sub-brand offshoot. His work on the Cupra Tavascan and Formentor models aptly demonstrates his understanding of the sporting premium class, while his ability to lead the team that designed the fourth-generation Seat Leon and fifth-generation Ibiza and Arona demonstrates how his forward-thinking design can provide stimulus to and increase a brand’s appeal.
“Alejandro’s arrival represents a great opportunity for Alfa Romeo,” Jean-Pierre Ploué said in a statement. “Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos is a car enthusiast and did a wonderful job at Cupra. The design team and I look forward to working with him.”
Mesonero-Romano’s mission will be to refresh Alfa Romeo, modernizing the brand and its processes from an internal, structural perspective, while concentrating on the development of future products worthy of the heralded Trefoil face. He will also need to lead the development of electrified vehicles for Alfa Romeo, which has seen legendary racing victories over its 110-year history. Attributing new values to a brand so steeped in heritage will not be an easy feat, but given Mesonero-Romanos’ background, we’re certain he’ll be up to the challenge.
Amidst this wrath of changes, previous Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Fiat, Abarth and Maserati Head of Design Klaus Busse has been assigned to lead the Maserati brand’s design effort exclusively, which will enable him to focus on the crown jewel of Stellantis’ European brand portfolio. Alongside Ploué, Leboine and now Mesonero-Romanos, the Stellantis design leadership team has been entirely reborn.
Mesonero-Romanos, an alumnus of the Royal College of Art, began his design career at SEAT in 1994. In 2001 he went to work for Renault Group before returning to SEAT as design director a decade later. His relationship with Luca de Meo, now CEO at Renault, flourished while at SEAT and he joined Renault Group in summer 2020. He resigned from Renault Group in April 2021.