Ian Callum, Jaguar design director, is taking the rest of the afternoon off. It is a spur of the moment decision. The original schedule was for Callum, the man who found a new direction for Jaguar in the early 2000s when it needed one most – and followed that by creating a whole new-look model range – to join us at 11am for a photo session at the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Fen End test track. He has left an intense and somewhat argumentative engineering meeting to do it and is scheduled to go back to another one much like it.
But as the cameras click, something else has started happening. The phone in Callum’s pocket has started chiming and vibrating like an unquenchable alarm clock. My own is doing the same. It is clear that newswires are suddenly alive with something Callum, 64, has been mulling for a year, decided last Christmas and has kept to himself for five months: that he plans to leave the design director’s job at the end of June, to do his own thing.