It is a time of concerning instability at Jaguar. Between its mission to drop internal combustion engines from the marque’s range in less than three years, and its debacle in successfully suing the husband and wife couple who built a replica C-Type, now another unexpected major directional change has been revealed.
We can only imagine what is going on at Board level at Jaguar Land Rover after the new CEO Thierry Bolloré promised drop-dead gorgeous new Jaguar designs. At the same time though he moved Jaguar’s ultimate creations away from an independent Jaguar and into Jaguar Land Rover’s domain under former Land Rover design head Gerry McGovern.
McGovern’s newest role is that of the all-powerful Chief Creative Director.
What has prompted this reaction from me is that Ian Callum’s replacement at the head of Jaguar design, Julian Thomson, has just announced he is leaving Jaguar after 19 years under Callum, and less than two as the Jaguar design head …
Whatever may be said in PR speak, it is not difficult to imagine a clash of missions and even personalities between McGovern and Thomson. I sincerely plead with those with the power at JLR, not to embark upon the non-sensical and fatal type of badge engineering and marque dilution which became the norm at British Leyland and led directly to the demise of so many once proud British marques.
I ask them to please read and learn from history, and I desperately hope Jaguar is not going to warrant the passion put into survival and later independence by its Directors and thousands of devotees in 1960s, ’70s and ’80 – just to keep it pure and alive.
We have much more on all of this worrying time in our next edition – and we won’t pull punches.
Autocar UK posted:
Jaguar design director Julian Thomson will leave the British firm at the end of the month after less than two years in the role.The reasons for the departure are unclear, but a Jaguar statement said he will explore other exciting opportunities outside of Jaguar Land Rover. Reports online suggest that he could be headed to India to work for nascent EV maker Ola Electric.Thomson has been at Jaguar for more than 21 years, following 12 years at Lotus – where he penned the original Elise – and a brief spell in Germany for Volkswagen working on production and concept vehicles.
During a two-year stint as advanced design director at Land Rover, he was involved in the design of the radical LRX concept, which would go on to become one of the company’s most important models: the Range Rover Evoque.
He was also a member of the team that created the final designs for Jaguar models including the XE, XF and F-Type, and he was appointed design director in 2019 when predecessor Ian Callum departed to pursue other avenues.
Upon hearing the news, Callum tweeted: “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. I wish Julian the very best for whatever he does next. He will be sorely missed.”
JLR CEO Thierry Bolloré said: “Julian has always endeavoured to be a champion of creativity, diversity and building a fair and positive work culture. I would like to thank Julian for his great work, leadership, dedication and significant contribution and wish him every success in the future.”