Twenty years ago, Ian Callum took a role as Joint Design Director for both Jaguar and Aston Martin, then owned by Ford. He helped spearhead Jaguar's rebirth under both Ford and current owner Tata Motors. Now, 64-year-old Callum is stepping down from his post as the head of Jaguar design, handing the reins over to current Creative Design Director Julian Thompson so Callum can take on a consulting role and work on other projects.
Ed. Note: Previously, we had written that Callum was "retiring." We've been told that's incorrect—Callum will stay active in design. We've updated this article to reflect the correction.
Under his two decades of leadership, Jaguar found its modern look, launched a long-overdue successor to the E-Type, and came up with the most futuristic electric road car money can buy today. The one thing Jaguar wouldn't let Callum build was a mid-engined sports car, despite the universally positive public response to his C-X75.
, Ian Callum explained his decision to step down:
I have had an incredible career at Jaguar. One of my biggest highlights was creating XF because it represented the beginning of a new era moving Jaguar from tradition to contemporary design—it was a significant turning point in our story. I came into this role with a mission to take Jaguar design back to where it deserved to be. It has taken 20 years, but I believe I have achieved what I set out to do. Given the strength of both our products and the design team I feel that now is the right time to move on, both personally and professionally, and explore other design projects. Designing Jaguar cars was a lifelong dream for me and I’m delighted to remain involved as a consultant for the brand. I have worked closely with Julian Thomson for 18 years—he is a hugely talented designer and absolutely the right person to lead Jaguar design into its next chapter.
Ian Callum's departure follows that of F-Type designer Wayne Burgess, who left Jaguar to lead Geely's British design studio, working together with Lotus, Lynk & Co, LEVC and Proton. Callum's successor, Julian Thompson, has been at Jaguar since 2000. Before that, he designed the first Lotus Elise, the one that almost had gullwing doors. Here's a presentation by Thomson that gives a glimpse into his working process: