By on November 7, 2013


Three of Ford’s most senior and veteran executives are retiring, global design chief J Mays, North American manufacturing head Jim Tetreault and Martin Mulloy, who is in charge of labor relations. Mays’ replacement will be Moray Callum, design director for Ford’s North American operations. All three men had important roles in turning Ford around. Mulloy negotiated contracts with the UAW that were critical in reducing costs, while Tetreault had a big hand in reshaping Ford’s manufacturing strategy towards efficient and flexible factories. Mays has  supervised the styling the cars and trucks that have helped turned Ford’s fortunes around, implementing Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s “One Ford” directive in a visual sense. He also had an important role the shape of the Jaguar XK and XF, developed while Ford owned that brand.

Mays is originally from Oklahoma and trained at the Art Center School in Pasadena. He worked for the Volkswagen group and BMW before moving to Ford as VP of design in 1997. Callum is the brother of Jaguar design head Ian Callum and like his brother he studied at the Royal College of Art in London. He started his design career at Chrysler and then moved to PSA Peugeot Citroen and later worked as a consultant to Ghia. Callum was hired by Ford in 1995 and headed Mazda styling from 2001-2006 while Ford controlled that Japanese automaker. Since 2006, Callum has managed the design of all cars and trucks designed in Ford’s North and South America studios as well as for  Lincoln.

Succeeding Tetreault will be Bruce Hettle, executive director of global vehicle operations manufacturing operations. Mulloy will be replaced by Bill Dirksen, who is Ford’s executive director for U.S. Labor Affairs.

Below are some of the cars that J Mays had a hand in their design.

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11 Comments on “Ford’s Design VP J Mays Retires, Replaced by Moray Callum. Mfg and Labor Chiefs Also Retire....”

  • avatar

    Anne Stevens was in charge of the facility closings, not Tetreault or Hinrichs.

    If the latter two had been making the decisions, Ford may not have seen decisions like ripping out a 1 year old ‘flexible’ body shop out of Norfolk, or the closing of Atlanta / Wixom versus Oakville or Chicago. For such a ‘plant’ person, she made questionable capital decisions.

    Most of the manufacturing landscape was shaped prior to Hinrichs’ promotion. She was too straight forward and clashed with Fields. She didn’t have a future.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll never understand the Wixom closing, other than the fact they made cars that didn’t sell well in the early 2000s. The people I know that worked at that plant loved it, especially compared to wherever they were sent to.

      • 0 avatar

        From what I understood from personal experience and from word of mouth from the older workers when I was there – it came down to this: OAC vs Atlanta: Atlanta was prime real estate. Oakville got cash injections from Ontario. Norfolk vs KCAP. KCAP took on two products and Norfolk stupidly turned down the Escape. Wixom vs STAP vs CAP. Real estate value of Chicago Assy is nil. It’s next to a dump in a EPA superfund site. Wixom’s turns, conveyances, for the Paint, Body, ASRS and Final weren’t as accommodating to flexible platform sharing (they were already planning on U502 complexity at the time of its shuttering). Twin Cities was screwed. Edison had already been sh1t canned. SLAP was a physical and labor hell hole and KCAP just made more sense.

        I know that internally, VOME, anyone who launched and Quality lamented the loss of Atlanta and Wixom in favor of Chicago and Oakville. Both of the latter two plants have impact on quality metrics even in CR. It’s amazing to see plant controllable’s show up in CR.

  • avatar

    I’m looking forward to seeing Moray Callum at the head of Ford Design. Some of J Mays’ most visible projects have never been ones I got excited about: The “new” Volkswagen Beetle, the “new” Ford Thunderbird, meh to both. The 2007 Ford Interceptor looks good, but it looks a bit like Ford’s version of the Chrysler 300. I think the 2001 Forty Nine was striking, in a throwback sort of way. I hated the Shelby GR-1, but the 2013 Ford Atlas (likely the 2015 F-150) is gorgeous, as far as trucks go.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I think the Ford Interceptor concept hinted at the 2010 and later Taurus, at least somewhat. And I could have sworn that the Shelby GR-1 was actually designed by an intern. And yes, the Forty Nine and the Atlas are both stunning.

    • 0 avatar

      The Audi TT, A6, Passat, etc.

      They were all elegant beyond their price points and drove a lot of the designs that were mimicked by all of the competition for the following decade or more — things like arched rooflines that replaced the traditional three-box sedan; beautifully molded and angled wheel fender lips; etc. I’ve gotta give him props as a trendsetter, at least.

      The funny thing about design is that it’s usually hard to spot specific shifts in the norm because after a couple years, it’s like it was always there.

    • 0 avatar

      Funny, the other day I was on my luxury condo (communal) balcony looking down at a late model Passat and a 2013 Taurus in the lot, and marveling at how similar the front end sheet metal was, particularly the creases.

  • avatar

    This kind of mass retirement seems unlikely to have been initiated by Messrs. May, Tetreault and Mulloy. They are all still in their 50s, substantially younger than Mulally, and their successors aren’t much younger, either. With the risk of Mulally’s departure for west-coast scenery, I’m surprised Ford is thinning their executive ranks just now.

    I wonder whether we’ll see them surfacing somewhere else soon …

    • 0 avatar

      I was thinking the same thing myself. While I disliked intensely some of the cars designed by/under Mays, like the Thunderbird and the Beetle, I like Ford design better now than at any time in my life. I figure one or more of this bunch will suddenly turn up somewhere in a few months, if not sooner.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, but why are they all announcing they’re leaving, right after Mulally is announced as a final cut candidate for the Microsoft job? It’s almost like they (and Ford) WANT you to make the connection.

  • avatar

    Mays has been (arguably) the biggest advocate of Retro-futurism, and it will be interesting to see what happens to the trend in the next 3-5 years when it is not the design direction of a major manufacturer (it’s very much been a sub-theme at GM…)

    I like the Gallery, but I think a List of things Mays directly had a big hand in drawing is even more impressive when you consider the variety:

    E34-5 and 8-series.
    Mk3 Golf
    Audi Avus – AKA TT (and he helped define Audi’s design language transition in the early 90’s to the better known designs of 90’s-00’s)
    Volkswagen Concept 1 – New Beetle
    Ford GT
    Aston Martin DB9
    Jaguar F-Type
    Ford Focus and Fiesta (2012) (Not to mention having effective final say for anything Ford badge since ’99, including many cars in the PAG)

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