Gerry McGovern – the designer credited with the MG F and original Freelander – will become Land Rover's new design director on 1 January 2007.
McGovern currently leads Land Rover's advanced design department, a think-tank examining the future look and concept of the firm's 4x4s. He has also worked for Ford's North American brand Lincoln, as well as helping to create some stunning cars at Rover Group. McGovern takes over from Geoff Upex, who retires at the end of the year. Upex, 54, has enjoyed a spectacular career, having had a hand in the Rover 75, new Mini, MG F and Land Rover's desirable and iconic current line up. 'I've been in the role for 11 years, and have seen the complete regeneration of the range. But I feel like now is the time to go,' Upex told CAR Online.
Geoff Polites, CEO of Jaguar and Land Rover, paid tribute to Upex, who has spent 23 years working on the Rover and Land Rover brands. 'It is very sad to see Geoff go and I want to thank him for his crucial role in guiding Land Rover Design to achieve an unparalleled level of success in recent years. However, in Gerry McGovern we have the ideal successor.' Ford design supremo J Mays is confident about the brand's future direction, under McGovern. 'In Gerry, we have one of the best designers in the industry. His experience with Land Rover dates back more than 15 years, and his understanding of how to marry the brand's values with modernist design will carry Land Rover well into the future.'