As vice-president of design and chief creative officer for the Ford Motor Company, J Mays is one of the world’s most influential automotive designers. Before joining Ford in 1997, the US-born Mays worked for Audi, BMW and developed the Volkswagen Concept One, which became the new VW Beetle.
Mays has overseen the development of the new Ford Thunderbird and Ford Explorer, as well as such concept cars as the Jaguar F-Type and Volvo Safety Car (when Jaguar and Volvo were a part of Ford). He also broke the industry tradition by commissioning a designer with no previous automotive experience—Marc Newson—to create a concept car, the Ford 021C.
Born in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, in 1954, Mays studied automotive design at Art Center in Pasadena, California. After graduating in 1980, he joined Audi in Germany where he made his name with the Audi 80, before moving to BMW to work on the 5 and 8 series. Mays is due to retire in January 2014 from Ford.