Automobile

Jaguar’s design boss quits ahead of brand’s switch to electric-only

Jaguar’s design boss, Julian Thomson, is quitting the brand as it heads into a new future as an all-electric marque.

Thomson will will leave the company at the end of May, Jaguar Land Rover said.

“I would like to thank Julian for his great work, leadership, dedication and significant contribution and wish him every success in the future,” JLR CEO Thierry Bollore said in an emailed statement.

The company did not say what job Thomson would be moving to.

Bollore announced in February that future Jaguar models will be built exclusively on a full-electric architecture as part of his new business plan for Jaguar Land Rover called “Reimagine.”

Jaguar has struggled to match expectations under the turnaround envisaged by JLR’s owner Tata Motors as sales of its sedans such as the XE and XF faded.

Thomson’s departure comes after Land Rover’s former head of design, Gerry McGovern, was promoted in November to oversee design at the Jaguar and Land Rover brands.

McGovern will oversee the design of Jaguar’s new electric cars that will be more exclusive, most likely targeting Bentley and Porsche instead of BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Future Jaguars need to be “absolutely modern and contemporary,” McGovern told investors during an online presentation in February.

Thomson succeeded longtime Jaguar design chief Ian Callum in 2019 after Callum left the company to start his own design firm.

Thomson joined Jaguar in 2000 as advanced design director after spells at Lotus, Ford and the Volkswagen Group’s concept design center.

At Lotus, Thomson won plaudits for creating the 1996 Elise sports car.

Callum mourned Thomson’s departure from Jaguar. “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,” Callum wrote on Twitter.

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