Ian Callum is departing Jaguar at the end of June. Picture: Newspress.

Coventry, England - Until the first-generation XF hit the scene 12 years ago, Jaguar’s design language had barely changed in 40 years, at least when it came to mainstream saloons - there were obviously some distinctive looking sports cars introduced before that time, such as the XJS, XK and XJ220.

And the man who ushered in the far more modern design language still found on today’s sedans and crossovers is none other than Ian Callum, who has just announced his departure from the British carmaker.

Scottish-born Callum headed up Jaguar’s design department for 20 years, and will be succeeded by Julian Thompson, who is currently the brand’s Creative Design Director.

That’s not necessarily the last that Jaguar will see of Callum, however, as the stalwart still plans to stick around as a consultant.

Callum says that creating the original XF was one of the biggest highlights of his career because it represented a new design era that moved the brand from traditional to contemporary.

“I came into this role with a mission to take Jaguar design back to where it deserved to be. It has taken 20 years, but I believe I have achieved what I set out to do.

“Given the strength of both our products and the design team I feel that now is the right time to move on, both personally and professionally, and explore other design projects. Designing Jaguar cars was a lifelong dream for me and I’m delighted to remain involved as a consultant for the brand. I have worked closely with Julian Thomson for 18 years – he is a hugely talented designer and absolutely the right person to lead Jaguar design into its next chapter.”

Ian in fact spent the first 12 years of his career at Ford (which owned Jaguar at the time), before becoming Chief Designer of TWR Design, where he created the Aston Martin DB7, Vanquish and DB9.

Callum with the F-Type, which is regarded as one of his best. Picture: Newspress.

“The contribution Ian Callum has made to Jaguar’s industry-leading design reputation cannot be over-stated. Ian stands for the most forward-thinking, rule-breaking and emotive approach to automotive design,” said Jaguar Land Rover chief Dr Ralf Speth.

“In my view, the World Car Design of the Year winning F-Type, F-Pace and I-Pace - true game changers - are perhaps his greatest achievements. I believe they will be future icons.”

IOL Motoring