High-Profile Auto Designer J Mays Retiring From Ford


  • J Mays Picture

    J Mays Picture

    After a 16-year career at Ford, J Mays is retiring as design boss. | November 06, 2013

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Just the Facts:
  • In a major shake-up in Ford's design ranks, Ford announced on Tuesday that design boss J Mays is retiring.
  • Mays will be replaced by Moray Callum, who has been overseeing the design of the 2015 Ford Mustang and 2015 Ford F-Series.
  • Callum was responsible for Mazda's design transformation from 2001 to 2006.

DEARBORN, Michigan — In a major shake-up in Ford's design ranks, Ford announced on Tuesday that longstanding design boss J Mays is retiring.

During a 16-year tenure at Ford, Mays led teams that developed the designs for the Ford Fusion, Focus, Fiesta, Taurus and current Mustang. He also was responsible for several concept vehicles, including the recent Ford Atlas, Evos, 427, Forty-Nine, Shelby GR-1, Lincoln MKZ and MKC.

"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," said Mark Fields, Ford chief operating officer, in a statement.

Mays will be replaced by Moray Callum, who has been overseeing the design of the 2015 Ford Mustang and 2015 Ford F-Series. Callum now will lead the design of all concept and production vehicles for Ford and Lincoln brands globally, the automaker said.

"His successes include the new Ford Fusion, Explorer, Mustang, EcoSport and Lincoln MKZ," Ford said.

Callum was responsible for Mazda's design transformation from 2001 to 2006. He currently serves as executive director of design for Ford.

Mays is a high-profile designer with a 33-year career in the automotive industry. While working at Volkswagen's advanced design studios in Southern California, he designed (along with Freeman Thomas) the Volkswagen Concept One, the car that became the New Beetle in the early '90s. An Oklahoma native and one-time journalism student, Mays often said he is a "believer in visual communication" and wanted consumers to become "emotionally connected" to their cars and trucks.

"Pretty has nothing to do with it," Mays said. "Design tells a story."

Mays was the last member of Ford's senior executive team hired by former CEO Jacques Nasser. He was something of an automotive celebrity and a decade ago had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles called "Retrofuturism: The Car Design of J Mays."

But Automotive News in 2012 said that Mays "was also once criticized as a talented underachiever who presided over bland designs that failed to connect with consumers."

Edmunds says: Get ready for Moray Callum to leave his design stamp on upcoming Ford cars and trucks.

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