Christopher Svensson, a recently retired Ford Motor Co. designer who oversaw the development of numerous vehicles including the GT supercar, died Saturday following a battle with cancer, the automaker confirmed Monday.
He was 53.
"Chris was a talented designer, an inspiring leader and a friend to many people," Ford said in a statement. "He made countless contributions to Ford during his 26-year career and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
It was unclear what type of cancer afflicted him. He quietly retired on July 1, according to a spokeswoman.
Svensson, a native of England, most recently served as Ford's global design director for SUVs, trucks and commercial vehicles following a design team overhaul a few months after Jim Hackett was named CEO in May 2017.
Before that, Svensson was design director of the Americas for nearly five years. During that time, he was part of an extremely small team that worked on the GT project in secret from a nondescript basement room in a corner of the company's product development center.
He took delivery of his own GT this year, according to posts on his Instagram account.
Svensson earned a bachelor's degree in automotive design from Coventry University in England and a master's degree from the Royal College of Art.
He spent his entire career with Ford, serving in various design roles in countries including Australia, Germany and the U.K.
He worked on vehicles including the Ford Ka, Puma, Cougar, Fiesta, Focus, C-MAX, Mondeo, Falcon, Taurus and Mustang. He also worked on concept vehicles such as the Ford Visos, Mercury MC2 and Ford P2000 Holographic project. Additionally, Svensson served as chief designer responsible for development of the pink FAB1 featured in the 2004 movie “Thunderbirds.”
Form Trends, an automotive design website, first reported news of Svensson's death. He is survived by his wife, Sonia, and two daughters.
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