Ford transforms design leadership

on Jul24

Piaskowski: Cars and crossovers

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. has overhauled its design team amid new CEO Jim Hackett’s quest to transform the automaker into a leaner, quicker-thinking organization.

The changes include an expansion of Ford’s strategic design group to enable designers to work more collaboratively at a centralized location in Dearborn, Mich. The designers have been reorganized into two camps: one covering cars and crossovers, and another handling trucks, SUVs and commercial vehicles.

Woodhouse: Lincoln, global strategic design

As Automotive News reported July 10, Ford is bringing Joel Piaskowski, Ford of Europe’s design director, to the U.S. as global director of design overseeing cars and crossovers. Chris Svensson, design director for the Americas, has been named global director of design overseeing trucks, SUVs and commercial vehicles.

David Woodhouse, director of Lincoln design, has been named director of global strategic design in addition to his duties with Ford’s luxury brand. In his new role, Woodhouse will oversee the expansion of Ford’s global strategic design group.

Amko Leenarts will replace Piaskowski as Ford of Europe’s design director. In addition, Freeman Thomas, strategic design director at Ford’s advanced design studio in California, will retire at year end.

Svensson: Trucks, SUVs, commercial

Moray Callum, whose position as Ford’s vice president of design is unchanged, said the moves are meant to enhance the team’s thinking. He said the company will focus even more on consumer experiences.

One of Callum’s biggest goals, he said, is to shorten product-development times so that a new vehicle’s final designs are set closer to when it goes on sale.

Callum: Focus on consumer experience

“If there’s a strong strategy behind decisions, it makes decisions easier,” he told Automotive News.

Callum said the changes to the design team, which took effect July 1, were in the works before Hackett took over in May, but that it fits in seamlessly with his desire to transform the company. He said: “We see him as a great supporter of design overall.”

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