Joel Piaskowski, Ford of Europe Design Boss

The mind behind the look of much of the modern Ford global range is retiring. Martin Smith, Head of Ford Design in Europe, will give up his position on July 1 and will leave the company altogether at the end of the year. He will be replaced by current Strategic Concepts Group leader Joel Piaskowski (pictured above).

Smith has led Ford of Europe design for the past 10 years, and he was partially responsible for the brand's Kinetic Design language with a large grille and swept-back headlights found on the Focus, Fiesta and C-Max, as well as several other vehicles abroad. After stepping down on July 1 until his retirement at the end of 2014, Smith will work on a project to decide the future direction of the company's look with Moray Callum, its vice president of design.

Piaskowski already has some impressive credentials in terms of automotive design as well. He joined Ford in 2010 as director of exterior design and led the teams responsible for the 2015 Ford Mustang and next-generation F-150. He was also previously design director at Ford Asia Pacific. Before working at the Blue Oval, Piaskowski held positions at Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and General Motors. Scroll down to read the complete announcement of this changing of the guard.
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FORD NAMES JOEL PIASKOWSKI HEAD OF DESIGN, FORD OF EUROPE; MARTIN SMITH TO HEAD FUTURE DESIGN PROJECT, RETIRE AT YEAR END

Joel Piaskowski, a design leader with 24 years of international experience, is named director, Design, Ford of Europe, effective July 1

Piaskowski replaces Martin Smith, who has led Ford of Europe's design team for the past 10 years. Smith elected to work on a global project studying the future direction of Ford design until his retirement planned for year end

Under Smith's leadership, Ford of Europe developed its influential "kinetic design" language and oversaw the design of such successful models as the Focus, Fiesta, Kuga, S-MAX and Mondeo as well as Ford concept cars including Iosis and Evos

Piaskowski, currently head of Ford's Strategic Concepts Group, joined the company in 2010 as director, Exterior Design, The Americas, and led the team in the creation of several vehicles, including the recently revealed all-new Ford Mustang and Ford F-150 pickup

Ford named Joel Piaskowski, a design leader with 24 years of international automotive experience, as its new director, Design, Ford of Europe, effective July 1.


Piaskowski, 45, replaces Martin Smith, 64, who led Ford of Europe's award-winning design group for the past 10 years. Smith elected to work on a global project studying the future direction of Ford design, working closely with Moray Callum, vice president, Design, Ford Motor Company, until his retirement at year end.

"Martin's leadership and passion for great design not only invigorated Ford of Europe's lineup but influenced Ford designs globally," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. "In his new role, Martin will continue to help our world-class design team create future vehicles that are true to our Ford values, even more distinct from the competition and meaningful to our customers."

Smith joined Ford in 2004 from General Motors Europe and led the development of a new exterior design language for Ford of Europe that came to be known as "kinetic design" – epitomized by bold, dramatic lines that convey "energy in motion."

Kinetic design ultimately led to the acclaimed designs of Ford models including the first generation S-MAX and Kuga, fourth generation Mondeo and second generation C-MAX – as well as defining the design of the current models of Focus and Fiesta sold around the world. Smith also directed the creation of a number of significant Ford concept vehicles, including the Iosis, Iosis X, Iosis MAX, Verve, Evos and most recently, the S-MAX Concept.

Succeeding Smith is Joel Piaskowski, currently head of Ford's Strategic Concepts Group in the U.S. He will lead the design of all concept and production vehicles in Europe and support Ford's global design initiatives. Piaskowski will have a dual reporting relationship to Moray Callum and Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe.

"We're fortunate to have someone of Joel's caliber join our European team to continue our commitment to design leadership and take us to new heights," said Stephen Odell, president, Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Piaskowski was born in Michigan and graduated in 1990 from the College of Creative Studies in Detroit with a bachelor of fine arts specializing in transportation design. He joined Ford in 2010 as director, Exterior Design, The Americas, and has led the team in the creation of several vehicles, including the recently revealed all-new Ford Mustang and Ford F150 pick-up truck.

In January 2013, Piaskowski was appointed director of Design, Ford Asia Pacific, based in Ford's Asia Pacific Design Centre in Melbourne, Australia, and more recently, he returned to Dearborn, Mich., to oversee Ford's advanced design studios globally.

Prior to joining Ford, Piaskowski was president of Mercedes' advanced design centre in California from 2009 to 2010, and previously served for six years as director of design for Hyundai in the U.S. He started his career at General Motors in 1990, working for more than 12 years on exterior and interior designs for several brands.

"Joel's international experience and product versatility are particularly important as we continue to leverage our design talent around the globe to deliver truly world-class products," said Moray Callum, Ford's vice president of Design.