Ford has announced a series of changes at within the company’s senior leadership team, starting with news of group vice president and chief creative officer of design J Mays’ retirement. Mays is retiring after more than 33 years in the automotive industry, ceding the vice president of design role to Ford’s current executive design director Moray Callum.
An Oklahoma native, Mays joined VW in Germany immediately following his studies at the Art Center College of Design. He later went to work for BMW but returned to the Volkswagen/Audi group, where he was responsible for the Audi Avus design and instrumental in the creation of the Concept 1 and seminal Audi TT. He also formed his own design consultancy with Freeman Thomas, Ford’s strategic design director, before joining Ford as Design VP in 1997. He was named Group VP in 2003 and took on the expanded role of chief creative officer one year later.
Throughout his 16-year career at Ford, Mays led the teams that developed the designs for the highly acclaimed Ford Fusion, Focus, Fiesta, Taurus, Mustang and F-150 and developed of the global Ford design language evident in most of the vehicles the company produces. He also was responsible for several significant concept vehicles, including the Ford Atlas, Evos, 427, Forty-Nine, Shelby GR-1, Lincoln MKZ and MKC.
Mays will officially retire from Ford in January 2014.