Designing brothers

The brothers Callum
Moray Callum

Title: Global head of design, Mazda Motor Corp.

Age: 43

When appointed: Sept. 7

Education: Master’s in Transportation Design, Royal College of Art, London

Previous jobs: Chief designer, Ford North American Operations; also worked for Chrysler UK, Peugeot-Citroen PSA and Ghia S.p.A.


Ian Callum

Title: Director of styling,
Jaguar Cars Ltd.

Age: 47

When appointed: Aug. 5, 1999

Education: Master’s in Industrial Design, Royal College of Art, London

Previous jobs: Chief designer, general manager of TWR Design; design manager responsible for Ghia Design Studio, Turin, Italy

Ian Callum calls it “one of those defining moments” — that day his grandfather took him to the Jaguar garage in Edinburgh, Scotland. Callum’s grandfather was a minister who liked cars and used to talk about them with his oldest grandson, who still was a pre-schooler when he decided he would be a car designer.

Not that Callum ever had any doubts about his career choice. But he was certain that he’d made the right decision the day his grandfather took him to the Jaguar garage.

“I saw my first E-type,’’ Callum remembers with a tone of awe in his voice.

Callum, 47, did grow up to be a car designer, and, in 1999, he succeeded the late and legendary Geoff Lawson to become the design director at Jaguar, a job he calls the best in the business.

He is not the only Callum in the profession. His younger brother, Moray, became an auto designer. In early September, at 43, Moray was appointed design director at Mazda Motor Corp. Tom Matano had been acting head of design.

“I don’t think I would have become a designer if Ian hadn’t followed that route,” says Moray Callum. “He declared at 3 or 4 years of age that he wanted to be a car designer. I grew up watching his progress, but probably was in denial; I thought I should do something different, so I started studying architecture, and then went into general product design. But I realized, ‘this is silly,’ and I should do what I want to do, and that is car design.”

If Ian thinks he has the best design job, he thinks Moray’s is “one of the most demanding.”

Moray is realistic about the challenge ahead.

“My mission,’’ says Moray, “is to keep the momentum going and to try to help design be strengthened within Mazda. It’s gone through a period when 10 or 11 years ago it was very strong, but then as the financial crisis came, it was less important.”

The financial crisis appears to be easing. In October, Mazda — whose largest shareholder is Ford Motor Co. — revised its forecast for first-half consolidated net profit to $8.3 million at current exchange rates, up from a $79.2 million loss that Mazda had forecast in May.

“Mazda means a great deal within the Ford umbrella,” Moray says. “We can really push the excitement side of design. That’s the mandate everyone’s been give here.”

Intertwined paths

The Callum brothers have taken divergent yet intertwined paths to reach this point in their careers. They are believed to be the first brothers to head major manufacturers’ design studios.

“We shared a bedroom as boys,” Ian remembers, “and it was covered in brochures and magazines. My father was a solicitor (lawyer) and had no interest in cars. But one of his clients was the Scottish Motor Trade Association, so he knew a lot of the dealers, and they were social friends, so I could walk into dealerships and pick up brochures without too much aggravation.”

The Callums studied automotive design at the Royal College of Art in London. Ian joined Ford’s design staff for 11 years and was appointed manager of the Ghia studio in Italy in the late 1980s, where, “by sheer coincidence, a few weeks earlier my brother had been hired.”

At Ghia, the Callums became more than brothers; they became friends.

After college, Moray worked for Chrysler Europe (coincidentally, working in the same studio in Whitley where Ian now has his Jaguar office. But that’s only fair: During his tour with Ford, Ian worked for a time in the same studio at Hiroshima where Moray now works). When Chrysler Europe became part of Peugeot, Moray moved to Paris for five years before his assignment at Ghia.

Ford liked Moray’s work so much the company moved him to Dearborn in 1995. He became chief designer for North American lifestyle vehicles (minivans, super duty pickup, the Excursion and EX concept) before his move to Mazda.

“Moray has a very mechanical, more inquisitive mind than I do,” says Ian. “At Ghia, I was the manager and he was the best designer. If you gave us a car to design, we’d design it differently, but we both verge on the conservative rather than the radical. We like to get it right rather than to get it different.

“He’s certainly smarter than I am. At school he could pass his exams without too much bother. I had to work harder, but we both did well. He’s one of those people who’re very clever. He’s probably a better designer than I am. “

Ian returned to Ford from Ghia, and through his work on the Cosworth Escort got an opportunity to work for Tom Walkinshaw at TWR. His first project was the (Aston Martin) DB7, a car that secured Ian’s reputation around the world.

“Everyone knew Ian,” says Moray, who has been known as Ian’s little brother from the time he enrolled at the Royal College of Art. “In France, nobody had heard of him, and I was pretty anonymous there. But then I moved to Italy, and Ian’s my manager. I moved to the States and nobody knew of him, but then he got famous for the DB7 and Jaguar. But he’s a good guy to be haunted by, and I respect his judgment.”

The rivalry’s there

The Callum brothers admit they weren’t close as teenagers, but now that they both run studios for subsidiaries of Ford, they talk with each other almost every day. Still, there may be some sibling rivalry.

“I’m not sure we’ll be visiting each other’s studios,” says Moray. “But we can talk. There’s no real reason to keep issues from each other. We’re not with competing companies.”

Perhaps not, but Ian says the brothers’ relationship has changed since Moray got his new assignment.

“He can stop being my little brother,” Ian says. “I always felt he was very conscious of that.”

But with Moray’s significant new responsibilities, says Ian, “Now I can tell the world I’m Moray Callum’s big brother.”

You can reach Larry Edsall at autonews@crain.com

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