J Mays keynote presentation at the 2003 Autoweek Design Forum
Presentation of the Ford Mustang concept at the 2003 North American International Auto Show
July 22, 2003 - J Mays, Vice President of Design at Ford Motor Company since he was appointed to that position on October 1, 1997, has been named Vice President Design, effective August 1, 2003. The only small difference is that you will find 'Group' as part of his new title, and as Group Vice President he is elevated to a select group of 8 executive officers.
Up to now J Mays has reported to Richard Parry-Jones, another Group Vice president, head of product development and chief technical officer. As a new Group Vice President J Mays will start reporting directly to Nick Scheele, Chief Operating Officer at Ford.
Mays promotion was made known at the same time as Ford appointed a new Group Vice President responsible for finance, but this was only a replacement, whereas Mays position is new and this promotion makes the number of Group Vice Presidents swell to eight. This can only be read as an indication of an appreciation of the increasing importance of design and at the same time a big pat on J Mays back.
The official Ford release stresses that his responsibility now includes the design work on more than 65 new Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products that will be launched within the next five years in addition to thje 45 new products that will come from Ford of Europe, the 35 new cars from Premier Automotive Group and 15 new coming from Mazda without mentioning that he had exactly the same responsibility before.
The difference is that up until August 1 he is one of nearly fifty Vice Presidents, now he will be one of eight. And he reports to the office next door to the Chairman instead of reporting to someone operating out of Great Britain.
One cannot help wondering wheather this emphasis on Mays design role, and the timing of the promotion, is totally unconnected with the soon-to-come General Motors announcement about their next head of design.