Longtime automotive designer J Mays is going from Ford Mustangs and F-150s to washing machines and refrigerators.
Mays, 63, who retired as Ford Motor Co.'s chief designer in 2013, has been appointed vice president and chief design officer of Whirlpool Corp., an appliance maker headquartered in Benton Harbor, Mich.
At Whirlpool, Mays will be charged with "translating consumer insights, needs and wants ... into next-generation product design concepts," the company said in a Sept. 17 statement. His job starts Oct. 15.
"Throughout my career, I've learned the importance of finding an emotional connection with the customer," Mays said in the statement. "My interests extend far beyond automobile design, and that's why this opportunity caught my eye. I look forward to leading and collaborating with the already strong Whirlpool global consumer design team. The team has a wealth of talent, is vibrant and passionate and a driving force behind creating customer interest, desire and satisfaction."
Since leaving Ford, Mays has held consulting and advisory roles including in the movie industry. He also has been a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art in London.
Mays worked in the auto industry for three decades, including early-career stints at Audi, Volkswagen and BMW. He created concept cars that led to the Audi TT and Volkswagen New Beetle.
He joined Ford in 1997, taking responsibility for a portfolio that comprised eight brands at the time and leading development of concepts including the Ford Interceptor, Fairlane, Shelby GR-1 and 427, Jaguar F-Type and Lincoln MKZ.
His production designs included the 2013 Ford Fusion, 2012 Focus, 2011 Fiesta and 2010 Taurus, as well as the 2004 and 2009 F-150, 2005 and 2010 Ford Mustang, 2005 Ford GT and 2008 Jaguar XF.