As we’ve reported previously, Martin Smith has been nearing the retirement age in Germany for a while now, and we always knew his successor would be someone from within the company.
That announcement came today, as Joel Piaskowski, a design leader with 24 years of international experience, was named director of design for Ford of Europe, effective July 1st.
Piaskowski replaces Smith, who has led Ford of Europe’s design team for the past 10 years. Smith joined Ford in 2004 from General Motors Europe and led the development of a new exterior design language for Ford of Europe that came to be known as ‘kinetic design’ – epitomized by bold, dramatic lines that convey ‘energy in motion.’
Besides having overseen the development of Ford of Europe’s influential ‘kinetic design’ language, Smith also oversaw the design of such successful models as the Focus, Fiesta, Kuga, S-Max and Mondeo as well as Ford concept cars including Iosis and Evos.
Smith has apparently elected to work on a global project studying the future direction of Ford design until his retirement at the end of the year.
Piaskowski, currently head of Ford’s Strategic Concepts Group, joined the company in 2010 as director of exterior design for The Americas, and led the team in the creation of several vehicles, including the recently revealed all-new Ford Mustang and Ford F-150 pickup.
In January 2013, Piaskowski was appointed director of Design, Ford Asia Pacific, based in Ford’s Asia Pacific Design Centre in Melbourne, Australia, and more recently, he returned to Dearborn, Mich., to oversee Ford’s advanced design studios globally.
Prior to joining Ford, Piaskowski was president of Mercedes’ advanced design center in California from 2009 to 2010, and previously served for six years as director of design for Hyundai in the U.S.
Born in Michigan, Piaskowski graduated from the College of Creative Studies in Detroit in 1990 with a bachelor of fine arts specializing in transportation design. He started his career at General Motors that same year, working for more than 12 years on exterior and interior designs for several brands.
“Joel’s international experience and product versatility are particularly important as we continue to leverage our design talent around the globe to deliver truly world-class products,” said Moray Callum, Ford’s vice president of design.