Currently reading: Jaguar design boss Julian Thomson to leave firm this month
After two decades working on styling for Jaguar and Land Rover, the Brit is taking up a position elsewhere

Jaguar design director Julian Thomson will leave the British firm at the end of the month after less than two years in the role.

The reasons for the departure are unclear, but a Jaguar statement said he will explore other exciting opportunities outside of Jaguar Land Rover. There is also no word yet on who could be appointed at his successor at helm of Jaguar's design department; the two other most senior designers are Alister Whelan and Adam Hatton.

Thomson has been at Jaguar for more than 21 years, following 12 years at Lotus - where he penned the original Elise - and a brief spell in Germany for Volkswagen working on production and concept vehicles.

During a two-year stint as advanced design director at Land Rover, he was involved in the design of the radical LRX concept, which would go on to become one of the company's most important models: the Range Rover Evoque.

He was also a member of the team that created the final designs for Jaguar models including the XE, XF and F-Type, and he was appointed design director in 2019 when predecessor Ian Callum departed to pursue other avenues. 

Upon hearing the news, Callum tweeted: "So sad and disappointed to see Julian Thomson leave Jaguar Design. Especially at a time when Jaguar needs directors of such a high calibre, leadership skills and talent. I wish Julian the very best for whatever he does next. He will be sorely missed."

JLR CEO Thierry Bolloré said: “Julian has always endeavoured to be a champion of creativity, diversity and building a fair and positive work culture. I would like to thank Julian for his great work, leadership, dedication and significant contribution and wish him every success in the future.”


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Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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pablovski123 6 May 2021

What's the loss? he's been at JLR for 20+ years and I've never heard him credited with anything - One thing JLR don;t need is anyone who's been stuck there for two decades. 

RightSaidFred 6 May 2021

Julian is a lovely guy and I wish him all the best.  I imagine the creative differences of opinion (or just the fact that McGovern is vile) at such a stressful time for the company were simply intolerable.

Paul Dalgarno 6 May 2021

What are his actual credits at JLR? 

I'd second a few people on here - Jaguar haven't done anything gorgeous in decades. F Type as a nearly there effort, but the rest are just bland without being elegant or attractive.

I think the Jag electric future can be successful if they have gorgeous cars, otherwsie they'll just die. Electric powertrains will struggle to differentiate themselves, and styling will take over. I love my Model 3 more than any car previously, but wish it looked better on the outside (love the front, but rear is too generic). I'd buy a gorgeous car with same range and performance over the Tesla - but they'd need to sort the charging netwerk too - Tesla Superchargers take all the hassle and concern over chargers working, and the network is very well spaced here in Scotland, and plenty of spare bays anytime I need them.