Former Ford Design Chief Mays Joining Whirlpool

Move has him following in footsteps of predecessor.

by on Sep.19, 2018

Ford's former design chief J Mays, shown with the 2015 Mustang, is taking a new job at Whirlpool.

Once Ford Motor Co.’s top designer, J Mays, is heading back to Michigan as vice president and chief design officer of Whirlpool Corp. of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Mays left Ford in 2013 after a long career in the automobile industry that included stints at BMW, Volkswagen and Audi before he joined Ford in 1997 as the company’s top designer.

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Before his appointment at Whirlpool, which makes a variety of home appliances, Mays has been working as consultant in a variety of areas, including in the movie industry. He also has been a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art in London.

At Whirlpool, Mays, 63, will be charged with “translating consumer insights, needs and wants … into next-generation product design concepts,” the company said in a statement Monday. He starts Oct. 15.

(Ford design chief J Mays says farewell with new Mustang. Click Here for the story.)

“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.

Ford's former global design chief J Mays, shown here at the launch of the Ford Flex, is resigned from the post in 2013.

“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,” he added.

(Click Here for more about BMW’s new Z4 convertible.)

During his career in the auto industry May had a hand in the development of concept cars that led to the Audi TT and Volkswagen’s New Beetle.

At Ford, Mays nurtured a number of concepts including the Ford Interceptor, Fairlane, Shelby GR-1 and 427, Jaguar F-Type and Lincoln MKZ.

In addition, the designs that reached production 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.

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In joining Whirlpool, Mays is following in the footsteps of Patrick Schiavone, who left the Ford Motor Co. in 2009 to become vice president of global design and user experience. Schiavone retired from Whirlpool and is now a visiting associate professor of product design College for Creative Studies in Detroit.

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2 Responses to “Former Ford Design Chief Mays Joining Whirlpool”

  1. Allen says:

    “…Mays, is heading…to…Whirlpool…” Does this mean he’s washed up? OK. Really bad pun.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      You could say he was put the wringer at Ford and left to dry up.