Peter Schreyer: “I’m Not Going Anywhere”

In this day and age, many journalists tasked with reporting on the latest happenings within a certain industry take to Twitter or Facebook in search of a news story. Often times breaking news can be found on those channels first and, typically on a deadline to deliver this to their respective outlets, journalists report what they see and read.

That’s all well and good. This method allows the journalist to write stories from snippets that have been shared by designers and executives on social media – stories such as this:

But I have a real problem with aggregate journalism. Most of the time the stories that are discovered by what I refer to as ‘desktop journalists’ are not verified, fact checked or edited in the slightest. This ultimately leads to the perpetuation of inaccurate information, which is then spread like wildfire across the World Wide Web. And that’s just bad for everyone reading the inaccurate information.

Finding such stories appealing and wanting to get the story out to followers and fans as quickly as possible often justifies publishing something that hasn’t been properly filtered. I’m guilty of it too. Had I been able to get a hold of Peter Schreyer I certainly would have thought twice about the information I received from this source.

Which brings me to the actual story I’d intended to write in the first place.

Peter Schreyer and Luc Donckerwolke

Earlier this year I went to Pebble Beach as I often do to check out the Concours d’Elegance. It’s a fabulous event that many designers attend annually, whether they’re out judging the cars or presenting one of their own on the Concept Car Lawn or in the tents and ‘homes’ manufacturers rent out to showcase their latest products to potential customers.

While there, I happened upon Peter Schreyer and Luc Donckerwolke, each beside vehicles that they had a hand in designing – Donckerwolke was chatting with his former colleagues around the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 and Schreyer was standing near the Hyundai Vision G concept.

I went up to Schreyer and said hello. Curious as I am, I also mentioned that he was ‘too young to retire’, to which he replied: “I’m not going anywhere! That’s just what some Australians published.”

Following my conversation with Schreyer I decided to walk over to say hello to Donckerwolke, as he was still close by. Over the course of our chat, I found out the real reason why news of his appointment to join the Hyundai/Kia fold wasn’t more widespread.

As it turns out, it’s not because he has a lot to learn about company culture and ‘the Korean way’. He’s merely on what the English refer to as ‘gardening leave’ – a period where a former employee must not commence working for a competing company before a certain amount of time has elapsed (Gardening Leave is defined as: “An employee’s suspension from work on full pay for the duration of a notice period, typically to prevent them from having any further influence on the organization or from accessing confidential information.”).

Donckerwolke explained that his contractual obligation to Bentley was until April 2016, at which time we can probably expect a formal announcement to come from Hyundai/Kia.

Hyundai Vision G Coupe concept (2015)

Though neither Schreyer nor Donckerwolke would go into detail about the specifics of his new role, Donckerwolke did admit the “groundwork had been laid” and that there were very good foundations.

This leads me to conclude (speculation on my part) that Bentley’s former design director would be stepping in to push forward Hyundai’s objectives in the premium segment, of which one proposal was on display on the Concept Car Lawn at Pebble.

So there you have it. Twitter and Facebook might be good for the majority of media, but at Form Trends I like to actually get out and have a chat with the people involved before drawing my own conclusions.


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