Martin Smith, who has led Ford’s Europe design group for the last decade is set to retire by the end of the year. Ford has named 45-year-old Joel Piakowski as Smith’s replacement as the director of design.
Smith, 64, has been responsible for instigating Ford’s current kinetic design language, which is epitomised by bold, dramatic body styling. He is also responsible for defining the current big-selling models like Ford Focus and Fiesta. Smith’s design also adorned the first-generation S-Max and Kuga, the second-generation C-Max and the fourth-generation Mondeo. He also directed the creation of a number of significant Ford concept vehicles, including the Iosis, Iosis X, Iosis Max, Verve, Evos and the recent S-Max Concept.
The incoming director of design, Piaskowski, will take over on 1 July. He is currently the head of Ford’s strategic concepts group. Piaskowski joined the company in 2010 as director of exterior design in the US and was responsible for the creation of several vehicles, including the recently revealed all-new Ford Mustang and Ford F-150 pick-up.
Smith, on the other hand, will start work on a global project studying the future direction of Ford design till his retirement at the end of the year. "Martin's leadership and passion for great design not only invigorated Ford of Europe's line-up but influenced Ford designs globally," said Raj Nair, Ford's global product development chief. "In his new role, Martin will continue to help our world-class design team create future vehicles that are true to our Ford values, even more distinct from the competition and meaningful to our customers."