Mays joined Ford in 1997 as design vice president, before being promoted to the role of Ford Motor Company group design vice president in 2003 and taking on the expanded role of chief creative officer the following year.
Throughout his career, Mays led the development of the Blue Oval’s global design language, leading the teams that designed the current-generation Fiesta, Focus, Fusion (Mondeo), Taurus, Mustang and F-150.
Ford chief operating officer Mark Fields said Mays departed with a reputation for being one the most influential designers in the company’s history and left it in a strong position, having established one of the industry’s most talented design teams during his tenure.
“The bold and sophisticated design language that J Mays pioneered will be visible for years to come in Ford vehicles and the auto industry overall,” Fields said.
“We are grateful for his creativity and leadership and congratulate him on his retirement from Ford.”
Mays is succeeded by Moray Callum, who is currently executive design director at Ford of the Americas, and has had overall responsibility for the design of all cars and trucks penned in Ford’s North and South American studios and all new Lincoln models since 2006. Callum previously worked at Mazda, where he led the company’s design transformation between 2001 and 2006.