Ford names Mustang styling chief new Europe design boss
Joel Piaskowski to succeed retiring Martin Smith
Piaskowski has previously worked for Mercedes, Hyundai and GM.
MUNICH -- Ford has named Joel Piaskowski to head its design team in Europe, where the automaker hopes to end years of heavy financial losses 2015.
Piaskowski, 45, who has 24 years of international automotive experience, will succeed Martin Smith, 64, on July 1, the company said in a statement.
Piaskowski, currently head of Ford's U.S.-based strategic concepts group, led the team that created the automaker's new Mustang and F-150 pickup.
He will lead the design of all concept and production vehicles in Europe and support Ford's global design initiatives.
He previously worked at Mercedes's advanced design center in California from 2009 to 2010. He also spent six years as director of design for Hyundai in the United States. Piaskowski started his career at General Motors in 1990, working for more than 12 years on exterior and interior designs for several brands.
“Joel’s international experience and product versatility are particularly important as we continue to leverage our design talent around the globe,” Moray Callum, Ford’s vice president of design, said in the statement.
Piaskowski will report to Callum and Ford of Europe product development boss Joe Bakaj.
Auto sales in Europe are growing this year after falling to a two-decade low in 2013. Ford CEO Alan Mulally last week said he is "very bullish" on the European car market.
The company has said it expects a smaller loss there this year and a return to profitability next year. Ford's pretax operating losses in Europe narrowed to $194 million during the first quarter from a loss of $425 million last year.
Martin Smith led the development Ford of Europe's influential kinetic design language.
Smith, who led the European design team for the past 10 years, has elected to work closely with Callum on a global project studying the future direction of Ford design.
Smith will retire at year end, the company said.
Smith joined Ford in 2004 from General Motors Europe and led the development of a new exterior design language for Ford of Europe that came to be known as “kinetic design,” which is epitomized by bold, dramatic lines.
Kinetic design is prevalent in European models such as the first-generation S-Max and Kuga, fourth-generation Mondeo and second-generation C-Max. Kinetic design's features also appear in the current versions of Focus and Fiesta that are sold around the world.
Smith also directed the creation of Ford concept vehicles, including the Iosis, Iosis X, Iosis MAX, Verve, Evos and most recently, the S-Max Concept.
“Martin’s leadership and passion for great design not only invigorated Ford of Europe’s lineup but influenced Ford designs globally,” Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, of global product development, said in the statement. “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.”
Douglas A. Bolduc and Bloomberg contributed to this report