Ford of Europe appointed Joel Piaskowski as its new director of design. He replaces 64-year-old Martin Smith, who will retire at the end of this year. Piaskowski is currently head of Ford’s Strategic Concepts group, and was heavily involved in the 2015 Mustang and 2015 F-150.
Piaskowski joined Ford in 2010 as director of exterior design for The Americas, after stints at General Motors in the 1990s, with Hyundai/Kia from 2003, and with Mercedes-Benz from 2009. In early 2013, he also spent a few months in Australia as director of design for Ford Asia Pacific.
Martin Smith has been Ford of Europe design director for the past decade, involved in advancing the “kinetic design” language used on cars as wide-ranging as the S-Max, Kuga, Mondeo, C-Max, Focus, and Fiesta. He also was involved in numerous concepts including the Iosis and Evos. Before Ford, Smith worked at General Motors Europe until 2004; before that, he spent time at Volkswagen and Audi, working on cars like the wild Audi Avus Quattro concept.
Automobile design editor Robert Cumberford, who has met Smith many times, says, “He’s a good guy and a really good designer.” In 2010, we listed Smith in ninth place on our list of the 25 most important contemporary automotive designers.