Former Mazda and Ford designer Laurens van den Acker will succeed Patrick le Quement as head of design at French carmaker Renault.
Mr Van den Acker, 43, seen above explaining his Kazamai Concept, quit as head of design at Mazda earlier this month and will join Renault on May 15 before assuming Mr le Quement’s full responsibilities starting on November 1.
Dutch-born, Mr Van den Acker, is an experienced designer who had led Mazda’s corporate design since 2006, and visited Australia in December last year to extol the virtues of his newly designed Mazda3.
Before taking the Mazda post, Mr Van den Acker was chief designer for Ford’s Escape platform and was based at Ford’s design centre in Dearborn, Michigan. He has also done exterior design work for Audi in Germany and worked with specialist design companies in Turin, Italy and California.
Mr Le Quement, 64, who is retiring, leaves a contrasting history after 22 years steering Renault’s design activities.
On the positive side, the French designer was responsible for some of Renault’s design successes such as the Twingo city car and the first-generation Scenic, which launched the European compact minivan segment.
However, some of Mr le Quement’s designs won fans and critics in equal numbers and his second-generation Megane compact hatchback had a bulging rear end that horrified many people, but the car still sold well.
His Avantime and Vel Satis luxury cars had distinctive designs that equally did not go down well with buyers.
Mr Le Quement likely will be most clearly remembered for creating a global network of design centers to help Renault tailor the design of its cars to local markets.