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.