Former Mazda chief designer Laurens van den Acker heads to Renault

Amidst a wave of reshuffles at several automakers' design departments recently (including Hyundai, Volvo, Ford and BMW), Laurens van den Acker's departure from Mazda earlier this month caught people by surprise. The talented Dutch designer, only 43, had steered Mazda's distinctive styling language for the past several years, after having designed for Ford in Dearborn, as well as Audi and a handful of independent design houses before that. The picture, so to speak, appears to be coming into focus now, however, as reports indicate that van den Acker will be taking over as head of design at Renault.
The French automaker's 64-year-old styling chief, Patrick le Quement, will be retiring from the post he's held for 22 years, from which he lead Renault's controversial design department to varied effect. Although many of his designs were successful, quirky products like Avantime and Vel Satis were dismal failures, while the pillbox-tailed Megane II was a source of controversy despite achieving market success. It'll be interesting to see the direction van den Acker takes Renault's design in over the course of his tenure. Follow the jump for the press release; t hanks to Pete for the tip.

[Source: Renault ] PRESS RELEASE


After 22 years with Renault, Patrick le Quément, Senior Vice President of Renault
Corporate Design, member of the Renault Management Committee, will leave the company
on October 30.

In September, Laurens van den Acker will be appointed Vice President of Renault Corporate
Design and replace Patrick le Quément. He will report to Patrick Pélata, Chief Operating Officer.

* * *

Born on February 4, 1945, Patrick le Quément graduated from the University of Central England
in Birmingham (United Kingdom) in Industrial Design as well as in Business Administration from
Danbury University (United Kingdom). He began his career at Simca in 1966. He joined the Ford
Motor Cie in 1968 where he spent seventeen years working successively in the UK, Germany,
and the United States as well as carrying out projects in Brazil, Australia and Japan. He was
appointed Design Director of Ford in Germany in 1981. In 1985, he joined the Volkswagen Audi
Group to become the Design Strategy Director. He joined the Renault Group on October 1, 1987
in a newly created position, Vice President of Corporate Design. In 1995, he took over the
additional responsibility of Quality, became a member of the Management Committee as Senior
Vice President of Quality and Design. At the founding of the Renault Nissan Alliance, he headed
up the Joint Design Policy Group, which he has continued to chair. Through his impetus, Renault
Design created an international design network and has become an industry leader in digital

Born on September 5, 1965, Laurens van den Acker studied at the University of Technology in
Delft (Netherlands), where he obtained a Master of Engineering at the Faculty of Industrial
Design. He began his career in 1990 as a designer at Design System srl in Turin (Italy). In 1993,
he moved to Audi as an Exterior Designer in the Ingolstadt Design Center in Germany. He then

joined in 1996, SHR Perceptual Management in Newbury Park (USA) as a Senior Designer. In
1998, he was hired by the Ford Motor Cie in the USA and was appointed Chief Designer of the
Brand Imaging Group in Irvine, California. In 2003, he was put in charge of the Ford Escape
Platform as its Chief Designer in the Dearborn Design Center in Michigan (USA). His next
position, in 2005, was Chief Designer of Strategic Design. Since 2006, he has been the General
Manager of Mazda Design in Hiroshima in Japan where he has been in charge of Corporate
Design. He will join Renault on May 15, 2009.

Press contact: Benoît Coquille - Renault Press: +33 1 76 84 64 69,

Share This Photo X