J Mays, who retired as Ford Motor Co.'s chief designer in 2014, once famously remarked that he was "sick of doing appliances." Now he is, well, doing appliances.
Last week, Whirlpool Corp. announced Mays will take over Oct. 15 — his 64th birthday — as a vice president and chief design officer. Mays made the comment about appliances in a 2013 interview with Automotive Design & Production. He was discussing the state of automobile design at the time, not white goods.
It's unclear whether Mays will relocate from London, where had been based at Ford, to Whirlpool's headquarters in Benton Harbor, Mich.
Whirlpool likes Ford executives. Mays is at least the third high-ranking ex-Ford guy to take a senior management position with the company that makes washers, dryers, refrigerators and dishwashers. He replaces a former underling at Ford, Pat Schiavone, who left Whirlpool this year to take a teaching job at Detroit's College for Creative Studies. Under Mays, Schiavone led the design of F-150 pickups for at least three generations.
Also this year, Dave Szczupak, Ford's former powertrain vice president, retired from Whirlpool after heading the company's product development for nearly a decade.
Since leaving Ford, Mays has been doing consulting work as well as teaching at the Royal College of Art in London.