DETROIT -- J Mays says his days as an egotistical artiste-car designer are ancient history.
"My head would barely fit through the door some days," Ford's chief creative officer says with a laugh. "I've long since gotten over myself. I haven't had that opinion of myself in a decade."
As the last member of Ford's senior executive team hired by former CEO Jacques Nasser, Mays has had his share of ups and downs since arriving at Ford in 1997 as head of design.
In 2002, he was feted with a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles called "Retrofuturism: The Car Design of J Mays." He has lured gifted designers to Ford's brands, assembling one of the industry's deepest staffs. But he was also once criticized as a talented underachiever who pre-sided over bland designs that failed to connect with consumers.