Ford of Europe design chief Martin Smith is to step down later this year
Influential designer Martin Smith, who has led Ford of Europe's design group for the past decade, is to retire at the end of the year.
Smith, 64, was responsible for instigating the Blue Oval's current 'kinetic design' language, which is epitomised by bold, dramatic body styling.
As well as defining the current big-selling models of Ford Focus and Fiesta, Smith's design language adorned the first-generation S-Max and Kuga, the second-generation C-Max and the fourth-generation Mondeo.
Smith 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.
Ford has named 45-year-old Joel Piaskowski as Smith's replacement as director of design. Piaskowski will take over on 1 July, while Smith will work on a global project studying the future direction of Ford design until 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."
Piaskowski, currently head of Ford's strategic concepts group, joined the company in 2010 as director of exterior design in the USA and was responsible for the creation of several vehicles, including the recently revealed all-new Ford Mustang and Ford F-150 pickup.
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