Richard Parry-Jones, group vice-president and chief technical officer at Ford, will retire on 31 December 2007 after 30 years with the company.Parry Jones commented on his decision to retire, saying that he is "most proud of the fantastic people I've worked with and the fantastic products we've created." Dr Gerhard Schmidt, currently Ford's vice president of research and advanced engineering, will assume the role of chief technical officer alongside his present duties.Ford president Alan Mulally said that "Richard's feel for the customer and technical expertise has helped improve all our brands, and his drive and determination have been an inspiration to our engineers."In more recent years, Parry-Jones has specialised in the development of environmental technologies and is also renowned for his expertise in driving dynamics and refinement.When asked which products he was most proud of, Parry-Jones named the 1993 Mondeo and 1998 Focus; both milestones in the evolution of Ford. We like Parry-Jones so much we gave him our 'Man of the Year' award in 1994, and he'll be sorely missed should he decide to exit the industry all together. If his achievements are anything to go by, Ford will miss him more than most.
Richard Parry-Jones: What he's achieved
Parry-Jones joined the Ford Product Development Group in 1969 as a trainee, before starting his first full-time position in 1973. By 1982 he was appointed manager of Small Car Programs and was central to the development of the Escort. Between 1994 and 1998 Parry-Jones was vice-president of the Product Development Group, during which time he led the development of the Focus, Ka, Fiesta, Puma and Mondeo. He became group-vice president in 1998 before being appointed chief technical officer in 2001.