Christopher Svensson passed away over the weekend aged 53

Christopher Svensson, a life-long Ford employee responsible for some of the brand's most recognisable modern designs, succumbed to cancer on July 21, USA time.

Most recently Svensson was global director in charge of Ford's SUV, truck and commercial vehicle portfolio. He held this job from mid-2017 until July 1, when, it's been confirmed to Automotive News, he quietly resigned.

Above: First-generation Ford Ka.

In a statement to Road & Track, Ford said: "We are sad to learn of the passing of Ford Design Director Chris Svensson. Chris was a talented designer, an inspiring leader and a friend to many people.

"He made countless contributions to Ford during his 26-year career and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Born in Sunderland, England, he graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1992. He then began work at Ford's European design centre in Cologne, Germany. The edgy first-generation Ford Ka, launched in 1996, was based on his graduation thesis.

He was design director for Ford Asia Pacific, and based in Ford Australia's Melbourne headquarters, from 2010 to 2012, and oversaw the styling of the last-ever Falcon facelift, the FG X, which made its debut in 2014.

Above: 2015 Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo ute.

In 2013 he was promoted to be exterior design director for all North American vehicles. It was in his next role as design director for North America that he oversaw the skunkworks development of the second-generation Ford GT, which took place primarily in a basement studio at the company's Dearborn headquarters.

Both a designer and car nut, his garage included a restored 1965 Ford Mustang, 1957 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, and 2018 Ford GT.

Other cars he has worked on during his long Ford career include the Puma, Cougar, Fiesta, Focus, C-Max, Mondeo, Taurus, and Mustang. He was also involved in the Ford Visos and P2000 Holographic concept cars, and designed the FAB1 vehicle used in the 2004 Thunderbirds film.

Svensson is survived by his wife, and two daughters.