Mazda's top designer, Laurens van den Acker, has left the company to pursue other interests.
The Dutchman is the second star designer to leave his post this week - on Monday it was confirmed that Steve Mattin, design director of Volvo, was leaving the company.
In his place Mazda has appointed a new head of global design, Ikuo Maeda, who led the team behind the RX-8.
Maeda takes over from today as General Manager of Mazda's design division and will be based at the company’s world headquarters in Hiroshima, Japan.
Previously he was the chief designer of the Design Strategic Studio, having joined the company in April 1982.
He was in charge of advanced design at Mazda’s Yokohama design studio from 1985 to 1986.
After working at Mazda North America’s design studio in the late 1980s he went to Ford’s design studio in Detroit in 1999 and 2000.
Returning to Mazda in 2000 he worked on the RX-8 and more recently was chief designer for the new Mazda2.“Maeda-san has played a pivotal role in the success that Mazda Design has experienced globally,” said Seita Kanai, Mazda’s senior executive officer of research and design.
“His local and global experience make him well-qualified to take Mazda Design to the next stage.“We appreciate the contribution made by Laurens van den Acker. He and his team have taken Mazda Design to new heights and we wish him well for the future,” added Mr Kanai.