J Mays retires from Ford Design, Moray Callum succeeds

Automotive Design 6 Nov 2013
J Mays retires from Ford Design, Moray Callum succeeds

Ford Motor Company has announced that J Mays, group vice president and chief creative officer, Design, will retire after a 33-year career, succeded by Moray Callum


This change is part a series of retirements and appointments in Ford’s senior leadership team, all effective January 1, 2014.

J Mays, group vice president and chief creative officer, Design, will be succeeded in his position by Moray Callum, currently executive director, Design, who is elected a Ford Motor Company officer and named vice president, Design, and will report to Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development.

In his new position, Callum will lead the design of all concept and production vehicles for the Ford and Lincoln brands globally.

Below we report some details on Mays and Callum’s careers and the company’s official statements. Also check J Mays’ interviews in the publications section.

J Mays

1991 Audi Avus Concept - Front viewJ Mays, a native of Oklahoma, launched his automotive design career at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. Following graduation in 1980, he joined Audi AG in Ingolstadt, Germany, as an exterior designer.

He moved to Munich in 1983 to work for BMW and returned to Audi the following year as a senior designer, where he developed production model proposals for both Volkswagen and Audi.

The Audi AVUS concept car, an iconic, polished aluminum celebration of Germany’s legacy of automotive performance and technology, marked the highlight of his return.

In 1989, Mays returned to the U.S. as Volkswagen of America’s chief designer in its Simi Valley, Calif., Design Center, where he was responsible for the design and branding of the Volkswagen Concept 1, known today as the New Beetle.

Mays joined Ford Motor Company in 1997 as vice president, Design, and was named group vice president in 2003. In 2005, he took on the expanded role of group vice president and chief creative officer.

During his career at Ford, Mays has managed and developed the design language of multiple vehicle brands, successfully leading the effort to develop the single, global Ford design language that now applies to most vehicles the company produces around the world.

Ford Shelby GR-1 Concept

Above: the Shelby GR-1 Concept

He has led the development of significant concept vehicles including the Ford Interceptor, Fairlane, Shelby GR-1 and 427, Jaguar F-Type as well as the recent Lincoln MKZ Concept.

Lincoln MKZ Concept

Above: the Lincoln MKZ Concept

J Mays at the 2011 Detroit ShowIn addition, he has been instrumental in creating key new production models, including the all-new 2013 global Ford Fusion, the 2012 Ford Focus, the 2011 Fiesta and the 2010 Ford Taurus and Taurus SHO for North America. Other notable production vehicles include the 2004 and present Ford F-150, the 2005 and 2010 Ford Mustang, 2005 Ford GT and the 2008 Jaguar XF.

“To me, the most important reason people buy a car is the way it looks. You don’t want customers to justify a car based on logic; you want them to justify the purchase based on emotion. It’s a bit like falling in love with a spouse. You don’t fall in love for practical reasons. You fall in love for emotional reasons. The practical things have to be there – but that’s just establishing trust, the price of entry. Ultimately, you need the emotional side to come through, just as it does in a relationship.”

Over the years, Mays has received numerous professional awards and recognition for his designs. Mays’ design philosophy and a cross-section of his vehicles were the subject of an exhibition called Retrofuturism: The Car Design of J Mays at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 2002.

Mays received the Harvard Design School annual Excellence in Design Award in February 2002. In September 2002, he received the Don Kubly Professional Attainment Award from the Art Center.

Mays has also taken on unique advisory roles, consulting with Disney/ Pixar on vehicle design for the 2006 animated feature film Cars. In addition, he has collaborated with American artist Richard Prince on published works.

In 2010, Mays was profiled in the January issue of Esquire magazine, and in 2011, he was featured in The Atlantic along with other design visionaries like filmmaker Tim Burton. His prowess was also featured in the BBC landmark design series The Genius of Design, and he has been named among Fast Company magazine’s inaugural “Masters of Design” standouts.

Moray Callum

Moray CallumMoray Callum graduated from Napier University in Edinburgh with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design. He also holds a master’s degree in transportation design from the Royal College of Art in London.

His international design career started in 1982 when he began working for Chrysler Corporation, UK and PSA Peugeot Citroën on passenger and commercial vehicles.

In 1988, he joined Ghia SpA as a consultant designer, where his work included the reveal of the Ford Ghia Via concept vehicle in 1989.

Callum joined Ford in 1995.

He has designed key North American products like the 2000 Ford Taurus and the last generation of Ford Super Duty pickups.

From 2001 to 2006, Callum led the design transformation for Mazda. Based in Japan, he brought to life a new generation of Mazda vehicles including the iconic MX-5 sports car and CX-7 crossover, along with the spirited lineups of Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda5 and Mazda6.

Ghia Via Concept Ghia Via Concept
Ford Ghia Via Concept (1989)

2003 Mazda Washu Concept

Above: the 2003 Mazda Washu Concept

Since 2006, as executive director, Design, The Americas, Callum has had overall responsibility for the design of all cars and trucks created in Ford’s North and South America studios and the new Lincoln products. His successes include the new Ford Fusion, Explorer, Mustang, EcoSport and Lincoln MKZ.

Official Statements

“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 addition to his talent as a world-class designer, J has brought together one of the most talented design teams in the business. We are grateful for his creativity and leadership and congratulate him on his retirement from Ford.”

(Source: Ford)

Image Gallery

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  1. shell24
    9/11/2013

    His concepts never made it to production, leaving us with cars that were always lacking in good design. Maybe now Ford design can get away from the Mays Audi Look. Looking for an improvement in design from Callum.

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