British designer Peter Birtwhistle will retire from his role as design director of Mazda Motor Europe at the start of next month. He is being replaced by another Brit, Kevin Rice.
Birtwhistle joined Mazda in 1988 and has led Mazda Europe’s design department since the middle of 1999. He played an integral role in developing Mazda’s 'KODO – Soul of Motion' design language, as seen on the latest range of vehicles such as the Mazda 3, 6 and CX-5.
Mazda Motor Europe president and CEO Jeff Guyton said: “Mazda has a long tradition in Europe for its stand-out designs and is considered the most European of Japanese brands. This is in large part thanks to Peter’s passion for design and for cars.
“I would like to thank him for his contribution to Mazda’s success, and am certain we can continue to count on Peter’s support and expertise. That said, we are fortunate to have a successor of such great talent. Kevin will continue Peter’s work, giving Mazda the necessary continuity while at the same time representing a new generation of designers.”
After spells at several brands including BMW, Rice, who is 50, returned last autumn as creative director to Mazda’s European R&D Centre in Oberursel, Germany, where he spent five years in the 1990s.
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