Jaguar design boss Julian Thomson leaves carmaker after 21 years

Jaguar design boss Julian Thomson leaves carmaker after 21 years

5th May 2021 9:50 pm

Thomson departs just as the company gears up for a disruptive phase, with plans to become an electric-only brand from 2025.

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Jaguar’s design director, Julian Thomson, has parted ways with the British marque after a two-decade-long stint with the company. Thomson had taken over the top role from legendary car designer Ian Callum in mid-2019.

  • Thomson joined Jaguar in 2000 as its advanced design director
  • Worked closely with Ian Callum at Jaguar for 18 years
  • Jaguar set for a massive transformation to an all-electric brand by 2025

According to an internal company memo, “Julian Thomson, Jaguar design director, has decided to leave the company to explore other exciting opportunities outside JLR and will leave at the end of the month. I would like to thank Julian for his great work, leadership, dedication and significant contribution.”

The news of Thomson’s departure comes after a management reshuffle towards the end of last year, which saw Massimo Frascella promoted to the role of Land Rover's design director and Gerry McGovern assume the responsibility of chief creative officer for the Jaguar Land Rover group.    

After the appointment of Thierry Bollore as JLR’s CEO in July 2020, efforts to turn the company around have picked up pace. In addition to the reshuffle in the top ranks, the automaker recently announced its ‘Reimagine’ strategy that is set to see a massive transformation, with Jaguar becoming an electric-only brand from 2025, and all Land Rover models being offered with a battery-electric version by the end of the decade.

Julian Thomson’s career: a brief look

Thomson joined Jaguar in early 2000 as its advanced design director. He also had an encounter with Land Rover in a similar position from 2006-2008.

At Jaguar, Thomson was responsible for developing the design direction of production models, as well as concept cars, and is said to have played a significant role in the XK, XE, XF, XJ, F-Type, F-Pace, E-Pace and the all-electric I-Pace.

Prior to his stint with the British automaker, Thomson worked with the Volkswagen Group for a brief period. Notably, his 12-year-long stint at Lotus till 1998 saw him become the company’s head of design and have a hand in the creation of the Lotus Elise. He began his career in the auto industry with Ford in 1984, after receiving a degree from the Royal College of Art.

Also see:

Ian Callum launches new design company

JLR design, engineering teams draw closer

Jaguar to adopt distinctive design language for stronger brand identity

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