Frank Stephenson is out, Rob Melville is in.
It was rumored last week that now former McLaren design boss Frank Stephenson would be headed back to Mini, where he served as Chief Designer until 2002. While that report has yet to be confirmed, we do know for sure that Stephenson it done at McLaren.
The company announced publicly that Rob Melville would be appointed McLaren's new Design Director. Melville was responsible for the Sports Series and second-generation super series of cars before the promotion, which included the P1, 650S, 675LT, 570S, and most recently, he lead the design team of the new 720S.
Melville joined McLaren in 2009 as Senior Designer. Before then, he worked at Jaguar Land Rover as part of the Advanced Design team, responsible for penning the Range Rover Evoque. In 2006, Melville joined General Motors in the U.K. as Senior Creative Designer, in that time helping design cars like the Cadillac Converj, Chevrolet Corvette, and Hummer H2.
Gallery: 2018 McLaren 720S: First Drive
As McLaren’s new Design Director, Melville will oversee the design of 14 new models before 2022 as part of the Track22 business plan totaling $1.4 billion. The plan will likely include a new "LT" sub-brand, an electric supercar, and a possible P1 replacement.
“I am thrilled to be given the title of Design Director for McLaren Automotive,” said Melville in a statement. "I remember when I got the call to come and join McLaren back in 2009 and the joy I felt then is the same today. We have developed a fantastic design team and have integrated a design philosophy that I feel passionately about. I have always believed that great design tells a great story and that is what we do here at McLaren. I’m incredibly proud.”
Melville will continue to introduce the current design DNA found in the 720S throughout the rest of the future lineup.
McLaren Automotive is delighted to announce the promotion of Rob Melville to Design Director with immediate effect. He reports to Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Jens Ludmann.
Rob joined McLaren Automotive in 2009 as Senior Designer, rising to Chief Designer in 2014. During his time at McLaren, Rob has worked on the McLaren P1™, the evolution of the 12C into the 650S, the 675LT, and was responsible for the Sports Series which won the ‘Best of the Best’ category in the coveted Red Dot design awards in 2016. Most recently he led the design of the 720S, the first model in the second-generation Super Series.
As Design Director, his new role makes Rob responsible for further developing the company’s design strategy, philosophy and principles working with the engineering and manufacturing functions, as well as the customer insights team. Another 14 new models or derivatives are promised under the Track22 business plan.
Rob commented: “I am thrilled to be given the title of Design Director for McLaren Automotive. I remember when I got the call to come and join McLaren back in 2009 and the joy I felt then is the same today. We have developed a fantastic design team and have integrated a design philosophy that I feel passionately about. I have always believed that great design tells a great story and that is what we do here at McLaren. I’m incredibly proud.”
Recently Rob initiated the design pillars of McLaren Automotive which instil the brand’s DNA through the design process. These pillars form the main ethos from which the team create breath-taking products that tell the visual story of their function. Implemented under Rob’s direction, the design pillars outline the core design principals of everything for a reason, functional jewellery, truth to materials, perfect proportions and always to be brave.
Prior to McLaren, Rob started his career at Jaguar Land Rover where his sketches and clay were chosen for the LRX Concept Vehicle which led to the Evoque production car. He later joined GM as Senior Designer within their UK Advanced Design Group. As a key part of the creative team he was responsible for evolving and realising the Cadillac design principles and philosophy across the product portfolio, including the Cadillac Converj project.
Frank Stephenson has decided to leave McLaren Automotive. The company wishes him well with his future and extends its thanks for the contribution he has made.